Teachers receive science grants

Kristine Istre intends to make her grant go a long way.

"With budget cuts, we're not able to do many experiments and hands-on activities," said Ms. Istre, a fourth-grade teacher at Diamond Lakes Elementary School who received one of 12 science teaching tools awards from the Augusta-Fort Gordon Chapter of the Armed Forces Communications Electronics Association at a ceremony Saturday at the National Science Center's Fort Discovery.

A microscope is among the items she plans to purchase for her classroom. Classes will be able to use the items for years to come, she said.

Stacey Meade, a third-grade teacher at Aiken Elementary School, also had hands-on science kits in mind. The kits will augment "things covered in our curriculum," she said.

During the past two decades, the organization has distributed more than $110,000 to area schoolteachers for the science awards, according to the chapter's Web site, www.afcea-augusta.org.

An annual golf tournament and corporate sponsorships help fund the program, according to Joe Yavorsky, chapter president. The tournament is scheduled for April 17 at the Gordon Lakes Golf Course at Fort Gordon.

Brian Lesieur, who works for Janus, one of the organization's corporate sponsors, said it's prudent for his company to contribute to such programs because Janus needs scientists and engineers.

"We wouldn't exist without the direct link of teachers," he said.

The association distributed about $5,000 in grants Saturday.

Other teachers receiving classroom assistance were Ella Rucker Baker, Sand Hills Psychoeducational Center; Jim Coleman, Coleman Academy Home School; Ellen Cotton, Jefferson Elementary; Margaret Fussell, Aiken Middle; Debi Gibson, Tobacco Road Elementary; Donita Legoas, Diamond Lakes Elementary; Beverly Lord, Glenn Hills Elementary; Marsha Moorman, Lucy C. Laney High; Janell Smith, Martinez Elementary; and Carol Stewart, Tobacco Road Elementary.

Reach Charmain Brackett at charmain.brackett@augustachronicle.com.

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