Teacher grants and report card rewards take education to new heights

Under the wings of Blue Eagle Credit Union

ROANOKE, VA (November 6, 2018) — As funds become more limited for schools, programs like Blue Eagle® Credit Union’s Report Card Rewards, Alexander Scholarship, and Teacher Grant become more important. Recent research shows that teachers, on average, spend about $500 out of their own pockets each year for classroom supplies. In response, staff at Blue Eagle® Credit Union have created an employee-funded Teacher Grant program to support local teachers. Each week, credit union staff voluntarily donate a minimum of $2 per week in exchange for the privilege of wearing jeans on Friday. Collectively, Blue Eagle® employees have funded nearly $10,000 in the last three years.

Each fall, teachers in the greater Roanoke and Lynchburg areas that Blue Eagle® Credit Union serves are able to apply for a Teacher Grant up to $500 to fund classroom projects. Jeff Thompson, Blue Eagle® Credit Union CEO shares, “Teachers play a critical role in the development of children. I believe most choose to teach because they have a servant heart and understand the impact they’re having on each child goes far beyond bringing home a paycheck. Teachers help shape the future of their students, and our community. The Blue Eagle® Teacher Grant program is just one way our staff lives the credit union philosophy of people helping people, our vision of enriching lives, and our core value of education. I’m proud to be a part of such a passionate team of people who genuinely care for others.”

This year, the number of applications submitted nearly doubled. Applications represented public and private school systems, as well as, elementary, middle, and high schools. Seeing the increase in applications and understanding the need in our area, the Blue Eagle® Credit Union Teacher Grant committee decided to double the number of recipients and more than double the amount to $5,155 awarded this year.

So, who will be receiving a 2018 Blue Eagle® Credit Union Teacher Grant? We’ve listed the recipients below along with their respective projects, all diverse and designed to meet the unique needs of their students. Please call 800.342.3429 or visit for more information on the Blue Eagle® Credit Union Teacher Grant program and other educational programs such as, the Report Card Rewards program where the credit union paid more than $4,000 to students for good grades in 2018; the Alexander Scholarship, which awards ten $1,000 scholarships annually; or the It’s A Money Thing program offering free engaging FUNancial education resources on a variety of financial topics.

Rebekah Flora, 3D Printer for STEM lab – Boones Mill Elementary School, Franklin County, VA
This project helps kick off the school’s brand new STEM lab, which each student in the school attends twice per month. With this grant, the school will purchase a 3D printer, which will run off the filament of recycled milk cartons from both the Elementary School and High School. With the printer and the filament of the recycled materials, students will gain insight into project design, coding and programming, and computer-aided design and drafting. This project will impact 330 students this year, as well as numerous students in future years.

Emilee Graham, Outdoor Sensory Walk – Breckinridge Elementary School, Botetourt County, VA
With an increasing need for a safe and accommodating space for students with sensory processing needs, the school plans to use the funds to revitalize an abandoned area of the school yard to resurface the asphalt and paint it with a multitude of colors and tools for a sensory walk for these students. In addition, the school will repaint a four-square space, hopscotch, and basketball courts for activities on the new asphalt. The goal of this space is for students, both with sensory processing needs and those without, to move and interact in ways that involve several senses at once. This project will impact all students at the school, currently 215, but will increase as the years go on.

Cheri Spahr, Interactive Accounting Simulation – Brookville High School, Campbell County, VA
Funds for this project will go toward the purchase of GoVenture software, an online simulation tool that accounting students can use to learn real-world skills about accounting, business, and finance. GoVenture allows students to put skills learned in textbooks and workbooks to the test through experiential, gamified, and social learning in a competitive environment. This project will impact an estimated 11 students in the spring semester.

Janet Barney, 4th Grade Science Hands-On Activities – Burlington Elementary School, Roanoke County, VA
Funds will go toward purchasing materials to make science lessons more meaningful, engaging, and relevant for students. These materials will be geared toward various learning styles, including hands-on investigations, DVDs, and STEM activities, helping minimize classroom distractions and interruptions. These materials will help students develop curiosity, believe in their own abilities, and foster a love of learning and passion to grow. These materials will impact all 70 4th grade science students.

Amy Warren, Mobile STEM Station – Eagle Rock Elementary School, Botetourt County, VA
This project involves building a mobile STEM maker station that will allow students to explore and discover in a way that engages their imagination and creative thinking. This maker space will challenge students to engage and adapt as they learn, while asking questions of themselves and their peers to find solutions to problems they see in the world around them. This project will help students solve 21st century skills while simultaneously developing critical thinking, creativity, communication, collaboration, conviction, and community skills. It is estimated that this project will impact 165 students this year with the potential for more students in the years to come.

Allison Gray, Spanish Literacy Building Project – Fairview Elementary School, Roanoke City, VA
Funds will be used to purchase chapter books for Spanish-learning students to read as they progress in their studies. Currently, the school only offers picture books that were printed on a regular copier, which have proven to be at a reading level below the observed skill level of the students in the class. Purchasing chapter books will allow for students to improve deciphering skills, spelling, basic literacy, vocabulary, and confidence as they work through the books, while offering them the ability to discuss the topics and information they read in the books with other students. This project will impact 100 students during this school year with the ability to impact more students in the school years to come.

Brandon Angle, Little Libraries – Franklin County High School, Franklin County, VA
Funds for this project will go toward purchasing materials such as plywood, plexiglass, shingles, and nails to construct little free libraries in the Franklin County community. Students will not only practice fine woodworking skills, but will also be participating in a meaningful community service project while developing team building, time management, and construction skills. In conjunction with the materials purchased to construct the libraries, students will have the opportunity to practice using hand tools, power tools, measurement tools, and basic math to read and carry out a plan. In partnership with rural elementary schools, these little free libraries will provide children and adults with access to free books. While this project will allow an estimated 40 students to implement their woodworking skills, the little free libraries will impact many children and adults in the community.

Alexandria Yarley, Teen Cuisine Project – Jefferson Forest High School, Bedford County, VA
This project will help students of Jefferson Forest High School learn and practice the impacts and importance of proper nutrition and wellness. With these funds, students will gain a hands-on understanding of preparing and tasting healthy snacks and meals from various recipes, and will spend a day rotating through eight stations, highlighting different sections of the program and various kitchen skills. These stations include cutting skills, PowerUp with Protein, an omelet station, Rev your Bev, whole grains, smart snacks, and How Fat is in your Diet, which aim to teach students good lifelong eating habits. It is estimated that this project will impact 31 students.\

Janet Baker, Fitness through Pounding – Liberty Christian Academy, Lynchburg City, VA
Funds for this project will go toward the purchase of 40 drumsticks and a Bluetooth speaker for physical education classes. Through pounding the drumsticks on the floor to the beat of the speaker, students who are not typically inclined to participate in sports will reap the benefits of exercise in a therapeutic way. This method of exercise will allow students to apply fundamental skills and knowledge of movement principles to build movement competence and confidence through acquisition, performance, and refinement of skills. These small group fitness, dance, and rhythmic activities will motivate and maintain unity within the class through whole brain learning. It is estimated that this project will impact 150 students in the 2018-2019 school year, with many more to come in future classes and/or grades.

Kristin Sink, Wiggle While We Work – Oak Grove Elementary School, Roanoke County, VA
Funds for this project will allow the school to purchase alternative seating for students. These new seats will serve as an alternative to traditional chairs, which don’t allow students the ability to move, sway, and rock while learning. Alternative seating has proven to improve students’ focus and engagement, while stimulating core strength, brain health, and physical health. The school will purchase various types of alternative seating, offering students the opportunity to differ their seating arrangements each day, both at their desks and around the classroom. Allowing students to choose their own seats will encourage them to minimize distractions and maximize their learning potential. This year, the project is estimated to impact 17 students; however, these seats will be used for many years to come.

Michael Ramsey, Noise Cancelling Headphones for Lab – Patrick Henry High School, Roanoke City, VA
In a classroom full of 28 students and 28 different courses, students find it difficult to concentrate on the work needed to earn credits for classes. Funds for this project will purchase noise cancelling headphones and a storage case for students who are re-taking classes that they previously did not pass. Many students in these classes use audio as an aid for the content being presented on the computer screen. With noise cancelling headphones, students will experience minimal noise distractions and maximum sound aid needed in support of the visual presentations, which will further their understanding of course content.

Tina Joyce, Middle School Life Skills Class – Timberlake Christian School, Bedford County, VA
This project is an effort to replace traditional study halls with an academic enhancement class that promotes critical thinking and active learning through exposure to real-life challenges and solutions. In this class, students will learn a cross-curriculum approach, which combines skills and competencies from other academic courses and real-world life skills. Funds for this project will be used to purchase supplies such as sewing kits for students to keep, safety goggles, wood supplies, and measuring cups to be used in the course curriculum. This curriculum involves teaching students to think about the future, learn United States Postal Service mail and mail-related concepts, learn basic sewing skills, learn time, numbers, and various money skills, learn basic measuring and building skills, learn nutrition and wellness concepts, and learn about Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and maps. This project is estimated to impact 50 students.

About Blue Eagle Credit Union

Blue Eagle® Credit Union, a local not-for-profit financial cooperative, is committed to Enriching Lives and finding ways to help members Pay Less. Earn More. Have Fun. ® How? By Delivering Solutions customized for each member and their specific situation, offering relevant services at affordable rates, and holding tight to their core values of Quality Service, Respect, Integrity, Compassion, and Education. Blue Eagle® Credit Union has been serving the greaterRoanoke and Lynchburg, VA areas since 1948. Blue Eagle® Credit Union's Google review rating averages 4.9 out of 5 stars, a direct result of their commitment to improving the financial picture of their members and the communities they serve. It’s time to See Banking Differently with Blue Eagle® Credit Union! Insured by NCUA.


Laurissa Thompson, Senior Brand Specialist
Phone: 540.855.3639

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