Lamar County School District teachers awarded grants

Published: Sep. 15, 2021 at 4:43 PM CDT
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LAMAR COUNTY, Miss. (WDAM) - Teachers are creative, and they can’t wait to foster boundless creativity in your child. But, sometimes, that’s hard when there are limited funds.

A group in Lamar County is working to fill in those gaps and help teachers like Cindy Steven-Pheal and Cherie Smith’s wish lists become reality.

“I teach Excell, which is our gifted enrichment program in Lamar County,” Pheal said.

“I teach 6th-grade science and social studies,” Smith said.

Steven-Pheal said she has an idea that will take her student’s skills of coding robots to the next level.

“They are little mini-round robot balls that the students can program. They learn coding, it covers all the areas of stem. Students, if we choose to, if we carry it that far, can participate in a National Sphero Robot Competition.”

Smith said she has plans to go beyond a traditional textbook.

“I wrote a grant proposal for a class set of science rule magazines. This goes beyond the scope of a traditional textbook so it allows students to have extra practice in informational text reading for science, technology, engineering, and math,” Smith said.

Smith and Pheal submitted their ideas to the Lamar County Education Foundation. Now, they are two of more than 50 teachers who were awarded grants that will make their ideas part of the curriculum.

“We mainly exist to support the teachers and classrooms,” Director of the Lamar County Education Foundation Marcia Line.

Line said for 16 years the foundation has been raising money in various ways to connect the Lamar County School District to the community and to give teachers money for the resources they need.

“What’s cool about our teachers in our school district is they think creatively and imaginatively, and come up with programming for their classroom that is sometimes a little out of the box,” Line said.

Line said luckily the foundation has always been able to find a way to get a teacher what they ask for in their grant applications, but they always need help.

“We just basically would love for the community to know about us, and if they have a heart for the teachers we are a 501c3. Every donation that is made to us is completely tax deductible and it goes straight to the teachers,” Line said.

It also benefits the students.

“As teachers, we are very grateful that LCEF thinks enough of us to be able to fund those dreams that we have, those ‘what-ifs,’ those, ‘I wish I could,’ so that way we can meet the needs and some of the wants of our students,” Pheal said.

This is where you can get involved and help teachers and students succeed in the classroom, especially if you are a Lamar County School District parent. You can donate to the Lamar County Education Foundation. Checks can be sent to P.O Box 18590 Hattiesburg, MS 39404.

If you have questions, email

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