Hornets, Lowe's and Fox Sports Carolinas/Sportsouth to Donate More Than $30,000 to 10 CMS Teachers

Jason Busick, Stephanie Coggins, Ana Delgado, Haley Houghton, Nhora Gomez-Saxon, Alison Johnson, Gretchen Kenley, Nicole Lawson, Eboné Lockett And Michelle Revak To Receive Teacher Innovation Fund Grants To Implement Strategies To Educate Students
by Quinton Wash

January 23, 2015 – The Charlotte Hornets, Lowe's and FOX Sports Carolinas/SportSouth, in partnership with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Schools Foundation, will award a total of $32,700 in Teacher Innovation Fund grants to 10 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools teachers to support their innovative and dynamic ideas to take educating students to newer heights. The teachers will receive the grants during a ceremony at halftime of the Hornets game against the New York Knicks on Saturday, January 24 at Time Warner Cable® Arena.

“As an organization, we are privileged and honored to be in a position to make a meaningful contribution to such an important piece of our community, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools system,” said Hornets President & COO Fred Whitfield. “The education of our youth is of deep importance to us and we are thankful to have such great support from our partners at Lowe’s and FOX Sports Carolinas/SportSouth. Teachers are the backbone of our education system and we are proud to positively impact such an integral part of the growth of our community.”

The Teacher Innovation Fund grants will go to the following Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools teachers:

Jason Busick, health and physical education teacher, Kennedy Middle School – $2,500 to fund a physical education program designed to improve academic performance for struggling students.

Stephanie Coggins, science teacher, Bailey Middle School – $2,500 to fund enhancements for the school’s STEM team to improve its aerodynamics, robotics, engineering, marketing and community outreach divisions, as well as its ability to design and competitively race 1/10-scale RC cars.

Ana Delgado, Spanish facilitator and interpreter, Oaklawn Language Academy – $5,000 to fund a student produced, directed and broadcast bilingual morning show and field trip to CNN Studios in Atlanta.

Haley Houghton, English ESL teacher, Nhora Gomez-Saxon, Spanish immersion teacher, and Alison Johnson, literacy facilitator, South Mecklenburg High School – $3,000 to fund a cultural acceptance and compassion project where 40 Spanish immersion students and 40 English language learners collaborate to publish a book containing one significant life story for each student.    

Gretchen Kenley, science lab teacher, River Gate Elementary – $5,000 to fund the construction of an outdoor classroom to amplify the learning experience for many disciplines, including art, English, math, health and science.

Nicole Lawson, music teacher, Berryhill School – $5,000 to fund an Orff ensemble and begin a world drumming collection for Berryhill School students. 

Eboné Lockett, honors English teacher, West Mecklenburg High School – $5,000 to fund the interdisciplinary musical production of “The Children of Children Keep Coming” by Russell Goings and publish a curriculum unit designed around performance learning.

Michelle Revak, science lab teacher, Blythe Elementary School – $4,700 to fund a field trip to the NASA Space Camp for more than 35 students participating in Blythe Elementary’s Engineering Club to develop future scientists, engineers and astronauts.

“At Lowe’s, we believe education is the cornerstone of strong communities. These teachers are changing futures every day in our classrooms,” said Joan Higginbotham, Lowe’s director of community relations. “We’re thrilled to partner with the Charlotte Hornets and FOX Sports to support the needs of our local teachers and help them continue to bring out the best in their students.”

Through the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Schools Foundation, the Hornets, Lowe’s and FOX Sports Carolinas/SportSouth will award a total of $250,000 to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools teachers over the next three years.

“The Teacher Innovation Fund was established to enable and equip teachers to provide the best educational experience possible to students in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg community,” said Jeff Genthner, Senior Vice President and General Manager for FOX Sports Carolinas and SportSouth. “Through our ongoing partnership with the team, FOX Sports is very proud to support the Charlotte Hornets Foundation in its commitment to support those who are truly making a difference.”

In addition to the Teacher Innovation Fund grant program launched in June 2014 through a partnership between the Hornets, Lowe’s and FOX Sports Carolinas/SportSouth, the Hornets have a history of partnering with both Lowe’s and FOX Sports Carolinas/SportSouth around education-related initiatives. On December 5, 2014, the Hornets and Lowe’s awarded a total of $50,000 in education-related refurbishment grants to 40 Book Project ($10,000), Arts & Science Council ($5,000), Children’s Theatre of Charlotte ($10,000), JA BizTown ($10,000), UNC Charlotte Foundation ($5,000) and YWCA of Central Carolinas ($10,000). The Hornets and Lowe’s teamed up in September 2014 to paint and renovate the Marsh Road Boys & Girls Club. In April 2013, the Hornets and Lowe’s launched the Book Bus, a full-service literacy bus that travels throughout Charlotte year-round to encourage reading and distribute books to area youth. The renovated school bus helps increase opportunities for literacy and learning in underserved communities. In March 2013, the Hornets and FOX Sports Carolinas/SportSouth partnered to donate $200,000 to the YMCA’s Y Achievers program and provide a total of $30,000 in college scholarships to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools students participating in the Y Achievers program.

“CMS is incredibly grateful to the Charlotte Hornets for recognizing the central role teachers play in our focus on increasing innovative practices in the classroom,” said Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Deputy Superintendent Ann Clark. “The Charlotte Hornets Teacher Innovation Fund grants will allow teachers to incubate cutting edge teaching strategies in their classrooms, share these instructional practices with colleagues and impact student achievement across the district. The Charlotte Hornets grant to CMS has already served as a catalyst for other contributions to this important initiative. On behalf of all members of the CMS family, we thank the Charlotte Hornets for their generosity and leadership and we celebrate with this first class of Hornets Innovators!”

Charlotte Hornets Foundation

Through the Charlotte Hornets Foundation, Hornets Sports & Entertainment is committed to helping the needs of the community in the areas of education, hunger and wellness. Hornets players, coaches and staff are actively engaged in the community, volunteering their time and efforts to serve these key areas.

About Lowe’s in the Community

Lowe’s, a FORTUNE® 100 home improvement company, has a 50-year legacy of supporting the communities it serves through programs that focus on K-12 public education and community improvement projects. Since 2007, Lowe’s and the Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation together have contributed nearly $200 million to these efforts, and for more than two decades Lowe’s Heroes employee volunteers have donated their time to make our communities better places to live. To learn more, visit Lowes.com/SocialResponsibility and LowesInTheCommunity.tumblr.com.

About FOX Sports Carolinas/SportSouth

The FOX Sports regional networks serving the Southeast – FOX Sports South, FOX Sports Tennessee, FOX Sports Carolinas and SportSouth – collectively reach more than 13 million cable and satellite households in seven states across the Southeast and serve as the television home of the Atlanta Braves, Atlanta Dream, Atlanta Hawks, Carolina Hurricanes, Charlotte Hornets, Charlotte Hounds, Memphis Grizzlies, Nashville Predators, Cincinnati Reds, Indiana Pacers, New Orleans Pelicans and St. Louis Cardinals as well as the Atlantic Coast Conference, Conference USA, Southeastern Conference and Big 12 Conference. Combined, the four networks produce more than 800 live local events and televise more than 1,400 live local events each year. For more information, please visit FOXSportsSouth.com, FOXSportsTennessee.com and FOXSportsCarolinas.com.

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