Santa and his helpers made an early visit to Bossier Parish educators, delivering $30,000 in grant money to fund 14 innovative classroom projects.
For the fourth year since the Sydney Biedenharn Educators Endowment was established, the Biedenharn Foundation awarded checks to teachers whose grant proposals were chosen among dozens of others submitted from throughout the district. Most entailed enriching classrooms with technology, but also included resources for reading and foreign language, fitness programs and science labs.
The grant process was highly competitive. Thirty-nine educators vied for the pool of grant dollars. At a reception in their honor, Biedenharn Foundation Executive Director David Tyrone and the Board of Trustees were present to personally deliver the checks and congratulate the recipients.
Those whose grants were fulfilled are: Natalie Pope and Kristina Bruton, R.V. Kerr Elementary; Pam Lowrey, Sun City Elementary; Angi Reger, Legacy Elementary; Martha Maxey and Dr. Anita Szombathelyi, Cope Middle; Jessica Daigle and Lisa Lambert, Haughton Middle; Brandi Dye, Cope Middle; Robert Gallant, Greenacres Middle; Shelly Malone, Benton Middle; Cedric Washington, Bossier Middle School Virtual Learning Academy; Victoria Baldridge, Elm Grove Middle; Michelle Doolittle, Bossier High School Virtual Learning Academy; Alison Ferrero, Airline High; Kellie Harper, Benton High; and Taylor Freeman, Benton High.
After the awards ceremony, an old-fashioned Coke float party was held, which was a tip of the hat to the connection shared between the Biedenharns and Coca-Cola. Sydney Biedenharn’s family was the first to own and operate the Coca-Cola Bottling operation in Shreveport.
Biedenharn, who passed away in 2012, was an educator at heart. She taught high school for seven years before joining her father to work at the Coca-Cola bottling plant. Bossier Schools Superintendent Scott Smith knew her well and said she would readily volunteer to substitute teach when needed at Benton High, where her children attended school and he was principal at the time. In her memory, the Biedenharn Foundation established the Sydney Biedenharn Educators Endowment to benefit Bossier Parish educators.
Bossier Schools is grateful to the Biedenharn Foundation for choosing to invest in its teachers and the children they educate in the parish. The district is also humbly honored to carry on Sydney Biedenharn’s legacy and love for learning.