Lilly Endowment celebrated its 35th round of its Teacher Creativity Fellowship Program (TCFP) and Greensburg Community High School teacher Kelly Sparks was a recipient.
The TCFP offers encouragement and support to Indiana educators who work in public, private, and charter schools. This grant is used to fund personally and professionally meaningful activities with hopes
that the educator will renew his or her love for and commitment to education.
Sparks is an English teacher at Greensburg Community High School and became aware of the program a few years ago when a colleague received the grant. Although she considered applying then, she opted not to. Last year, a friend of hers from South Ripley High School received the grant and it sparked her interest to apply again.
When asked about the application process Sparks stated, “The process wasn’t too difficult. I had to write a proposal that included my project idea, plan, goals, activities, timeline, and budget. I had to type these items in a required format and submit by a deadline.”
Sparks’s project is titled, “Diving In To Discover the Treasures of the Ocean.” It’s a chance to explore the majestic, oceanic scenery and inhabitants of the Atlantic Ocean and Guld of Mexico. She will be heading to the Florida Keys June 20-July 5. Throughout her time in the Keys she will deep sea fish, snorkel, and look for shells. Sparks has already booked one deep sea fishing excursion and plans to book at least one more. She also has plans to snorkel the coral reefs near John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park and at Bahia State Park. Her trip will be documented through pictures, video, interviews, and writing.
When asked why this opportunity is influential to her students Sparks responded with “this opportunity can teach my students to not let anything hold you back. This is a once in a lifetime trip for me to be able to explore the ocean all in one trip. I also love sharing with my students what is out there in the world outside of the town Greensburg.”
In addition to applying for the Teacher Creativity Fellowship Program, local teachers can also find support through the Decatur County Community Foundation’s Thank-A-Teacher program. These grants provide up to $500 to classroom teachers in Decatur County for creative, innovative projects that would not be otherwise funded. Thank-A-Teacher grants are available in the spring and the fall.
For more information about the Teacher Creativity Fellowship Program, visit https://lillyendowment.org/for-grantseekers/renewal-programs/teacher-creativity/. Information on Decatur County Community Foundation’s Thank-a-Teacher grant can be found at https://www.dccfound.org/thank-a-teacher-grants.