Story and Photo by Jada Cochran, News Writer

The Colonial Life Strong Schools grant is awarded to teachers in Richland Country School District One. Colonial Life has awarded over $75,000 since the start in the 2013-2014 school year. The grant provides teachers with the opportunity to receive financial support to enhance the learning experience in the classroom.

Two of Keenan’s teachers applied and received the grant: Mrs. Kirstin Bullington, physical science and engineering teacher, and Mr. Kareem Beckett, physics and robotics teacher.

“Our hope is these mini-grants like the ones supporting Mr. Beckett’s and Ms. Bullington’s classrooms will enhance the learning experience for their students and provide a deeper connection to real-world applications as they prepare their students for career, college and citizenship,” Mrs. Marie McGehee, community relations manager for Colonial Life, said.

Teachers were able to request up to $1,000 to fund an innovative project. They were required to fill out an application that followed course content and should have included details on how students would benefit from the project.

“I’m honored that I could write something someone saw value in, and students would get a chance to do something they normally can’t,” Beckett said.

With the money Beckett was able to purchase solar panels, LED light up displays and a Beagle Bone microcomputer. These materials will be used to build a solar paneled light up highway, which is a highway that lights up during the nighttime.

“I’m excited for my teachers when they receive grants they’re using it to better their kids,” Mr. Sean Glover Assistant Principal, said.

Beckett and Bullington and other teachers will continue to apply for grants like the Colonial Life Schools grant since grants give teachers a chance to buy materials that are usually not able to be financially supported by the school.

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A portion of the light-up highway was created by Mr. Kareem Beckett’s students. This model was built soon after the Colonial Life grant money was received.