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Nine Bossier educators awarded $15,000 in classroom grants

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Last Thursday was an exciting day for nine Bossier Parish educators when they were awarded $15,000 in classroom grants as winners of the first Sydney Biedenharn Educators’ Endowment, established by the Biedenharn Foundation.

Nine outstanding Bossier Parish educators are on the receiving end of $15,000 in classroom grants, after being chosen for the first Sydney Biedenharn Educators’ Endowment.  

At an awards ceremony and old-fashioned Coke Float reception, Biedenharn Foundation Executive Director David Tyrone and his wife, Linda, handed out checks to fund various technology and classroom resources. The late Sydney Biedenharn was passionate about education and the arts and taught high school for seven years before joining her father at the Coca-Cola Bottling Plant in Shreveport, which the family founded.

In her memory, the Biedenharn Foundation chose to honor Sydney’s memory by investing in Bossier Schools, resulting in the Sydney Biedenharn Educators’ Endowment grants.

Biedenharn reception2Thirty-five Bossier Parish teachers applied for the $15,000 offered to fund their projects. Members of the Bossier Parish Retired Teachers Association then judged the submissions and later held interviews, ultimately choosing nine winners.

They are: Aundrea Weinreber, a chemistry teacher at Haughton High, who was awarded $1,545; Nichole Nuccio, science teacher at Bossier High, $1,545; Laura Jorgensen, English teacher at Greenacres Middle, $2,100; Justin Steele, Social Studies teacher at T.O. Rusheon Middle, $1,200; Jamie East, Social Studies teacher at Benton Middle, $1,800; Spencer Kiper, math/STEM teacher at Elm Grove Middle, $1,925; Shuntay Wilson, math teacher at Kerr Elementary, $2,440; Jan Rogers, math and ELA teacher at Bellaire Elementary, $1,245; and Madora Abney, ELA and math teacher at Apollo Elementary, $1,200.

Judy Podner, Social Studies Curriculum Coordinator for grades 6-12 and Grants Coordinator, said the opportunity the Biedenharn Foundation extended to Bossier Schools is invaluable, benefiting both teachers and students.

“Grant sources for our teachers are quickly diminishing,” Podner explained. “Locally, we have just a few available and the ones offered at the national level are so competitive. We truly appreciate the Biedenharn Foundation for its generosity and desire to honor Sydney Biedenharn’s love for education in a way that keeps giving back.”