In late June, six Geneva City School District elementary teachers and staff were awarded grants totaling $3383.53 from The Becky Addona TLC Grant Foundation. The grant program was created in 2018 in honor of retired Geneva teacher Becky Addona, who passed away in 2017.
The grant calls for innovative and creative proposals incorporating “many varied and unusual ways” to reach every student while providing them with exciting and challenging classroom experiences. The parameters closely mirror Addona’s own teaching philosophy that every child should be able to learn and participate at their level, much like the personalized learning approach that the Geneva City School District has embraced.
The Addona family created and coordinates the grant fund, which was made possible through generous donations from private donors, community businesses and from the Becky Addona TLC 5K Run/Walk that was held in 2018. Since then, over $16,800 has been awarded in grant funding at the elementary school level. Becky Addona spent the bulk of her teaching career in Geneva elementary schools. While the grant was initially open only to Geneva City School District elementary school teachers, staff from Head Start/UPK, elementary, middle and high school are now eligible to apply for grants up to $1500.
Winners of the grants this year are 5th grade teacher Valarie Coleman and special education teacher Tonya Luna, kindergarten teachers Matt Abraham and Kathryn Roberts, special education teacher Marni McCarthy, and teaching assistant Melissa Berg.
Coleman and Luna were awarded $1103.53 for their grant “Schoolyard Birds.” This grant will allow for the purchase of bird books, curriculum, feeders and supplies that will attract and sustain more native and migratory birds. They will also purchase the Cornell eBirds Explorers lesson and materials kit for grades 3–5 which aligns with science standards, and students will be able to connect with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology eBird Citizen Science Project.
Abraham, Berg and McCarthy were awarded $1,500 for their grant “Play Based Learning.” This grant will enable the purchase of supplies to incorporate play-based learning to stimulate students’ drive for exploration and discovery. The items purchased will allow kindergarten students a “hands-on” approach to their early education incorporating cooperative play.
“I am super excited for my team and students to be able to engage in so many fun learning purposeful play activities that would never have been possible without this grant. Can’t wait to see the smiles, excitement and learning in action,” said Marni McCarthy.
Roberts was awarded $785 for her grant “Keep on Learning Through Play.” This grant will continue to allow access to learning through play. The items purchased through this grant will help students continue learning about math, letters, science, social studies and social skills through play. Dramatic play areas started last year with grant funding will be continued and expanded to include a grocery and diner area.
Please visit the facebook page: Becky Addona TLC Run for updates about the grant program.
Don Addona, a retired dentist, still lives in Geneva, NY; Lauren Addona Romero is an elementary music teacher in Bloomington, IL.; Kristin Addona Pontes is a physical therapist with Finger Lakes Health in Penn Yan, NY.; and Mark Addona is a professor at Ithaca College in Ithaca, NY.