Nine Mississippi teachers were honored today at a luncheon in Gulfport as winners of Leo W. Seal Innovative Teacher Grants. The grants are presented for excellence in creative education by Hancock Bank and the Gulf Coast Community Foundation.
Honorees are Jean Adkison of East Central Upper Elementary School in Vancleave, Stephanie Beauchamp of North Woolmarket Elementary & Middle School in Biloxi, Penny Dearman of East Central Middle School in Hurley, Marsha Gaines of Jeff Davis Elementary School in Biloxi, Julie Hadley of West Harrison High School in Gulfport, Jeanelle Hardwick of Biloxi High School in Biloxi, Gerald Huffman of Gulfport High School in Gulfport, Kristi Lindsey of Hancock Middle School in Kiln, and Daniel Zwerg of St. Stanislaus College in Bay St. Louis.
Winners received grants up to $2,000 and crystal apple awards.
— Jean Adkison’s project, “LEGOs & My Simple Machine,” will help East Central Upper Elementary School students develop engineering skills by constructing gears, pulleys, levers, wheels and axles. Students will calculate ratio gears, build working models of fixed and movable pulleys, learn lever concepts and make discoveries regarding friction to increase understanding of these concepts.
— Through “Our Class Garden,” Stephanie Beauchamp’s North Woolmarket Elementary & Middle School first-graders will plant and care for a variety of fruits, vegetables and herbs during the year to learn the importance of preserving property for the use of crops, the benefits of fresh vegetables, the responsibilities of growing and various means of preparing their own food.
— Boosting Engineering Science and Technology or BEST, proposed by Penny Dearman, will use real world applications of middle school skills to inspire her East Central Middle School students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math. Through participation in a sports-like, STEM-based robotics competition, the students will be involved in building a robot, programming software and creating a market presentation.
— Marsha Gaines’ “Singing My Fears Away!” is a performance-based class she will implement at Jeff Davis Elementary School. Students will be inspired to push beyond their fears and gain confidence in public speaking and singing using a quality sound system with recording capability, microphones and CDs. Ongoing lessons will focus on proper microphone technique, performance skills and opportunity for feedback.
— “Exploring Marine Science with the SeaPerch Remotely Operated Marine Vehicle” is a project that will incorporate the physical construction of an underwater vehicle with scientific concepts taught in the classroom, such as buoyancy, density, electrical engineering and circuitry. After constructing these vehicles, Julie Hadley’s West Harrison High School students will compete in a regional competition based on maneuvering skills, speed and design.
— Jeanelle Hardwick’s Biloxi Achieving Success in Science or BASS is a project where funds will be used to create kits to allow teachers the opportunity to engage students in lab demonstrations or experiments that increase student comprehension that would otherwise be inaccessible or cost-prohibitive. These kits will be shared and accessible to both elementary and middle school teachers.
— “Using Construction to Build Future Leaders” will give Gerald Huffman’s Gulfport High School students hands-on experience by constructing a greenhouse. Other academic areas will also benefit: Culinary students can harvest and use the produce to cook, earth science students can study and explore different ways to grow the produce, and the STEM Institute can explore sustainable energy alternatives, water harvesting for irrigation and various other technologies.
— Kristi Lindsey’s “Throw Yourself in ART!” will use clay to educate and engage students, who will create ceramic vessels, discuss ancient and modern ceramic works and artists, experience various techniques of throwing clay on a modern pottery wheel and discover both the physical and chemical changes that occur as part of the ceramic process. This project is designed to integrate math, science, language arts and history into one experience.
— “Aeronautics” will allow Daniel Zwerg’s students to be introduced to the physics of aviation by building planes and programming transmitters to fly the planes. Students will learn in a practical way how airplanes fly, pilot inputs necessary to maintain flight, adjustments necessary to accommodate winds and other variables, and how to build and maintain mechanical and electrical systems.
The awards also commemorate Leo W. Seal Sr. — Hancock Bank president from 1932 until his death in 1963 — and his son, the late Leo W. Seal Jr., Hancock’s chief executive for 45 years.
The Gulf Coast Community Foundation manages the endowment as a permanent fund of the GCCF’s Pat Santucci Friends of Public Education program and coordinates the selection of winners.
The Leo W. Seal grants were established in 1994 and funded by Hancock Bank. They recognize and encourage educational excellence by underwriting original classroom teaching initiatives developed by teachers in Forrest, Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, Jefferson Davis, Lamar, and Pearl River counties.
“We continue to honor the legacy of the Seal family in recognizing and rewarding the exceptional educators we have throughout Mississippi,” said Keith Williams, Hancock Holding Company’s chief credit officer and senior vice president. “Hancock Bank is committed to education and supports teachers who work tirelessly to develop innovative teaching solutions, demonstrate strong leadership and have passion about the role they play in developing tomorrow’s leaders.”