A baker's dozen of Beaufort County teachers was surprised Tuesday when strangers came into their rooms bearing smiles, balloons and oversized checks.
The Foundation for Educational Excellence, a fund of the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry, distributed grants for classroom projects and purchases, a semiannual event since 2009.
More than $5,200 was given to 13 teachers at 12 schools. Most grants were between $200 and $500 and were funded by a three-year, $15,000 donation from First Citizens Bank.
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- Jenifer Smith, Hilton Head Island Elementary School: $297.94 for a Lego Mindstorm Kit for third- through fifth-graders. Smith is the recipient of the Dr. Valerie Truesdale Innovative Teacher Grant.
- Alayne Arnett, kindergarten teacher at Bluffton Early Childhood Center: $285 for a project called "Connecting With Our Environment."
- Shelia Cato, ninth-grade teacher at Beaufort High School: $498.95 for "Passing the South Carolina End of Course Exam in English I in 2013."
- Veronica Chisholm, eighth-grade teacher at H.E. McCracken Middle School: $500 for "Science & Reading-Supporting Resources."
- Erin Davis, second-grade teacher at Hilton Head Island School for the Creative Arts: $350 for "Math Packs."
- Michele Dubbs, first-grade teacher at Coosa Elementary School: $500 for "Common Core Nonfiction Literature for First Grade Class."
- Kelli Harper, counselor at Lady's Island Elementary School: $315 for "Yoga Focus."
- Danielle Hunt, third-grade teacher at Okatie Elementary School: $500 for "Technology for All."
- John W. O'Connell Jr., fourth- and fifth-grade science teacher at Port Royal Elementary School: $484.75 for "A World of Wonder."
- Patty Schoelkopf-Lewis, photography instructor at Hilton Head Island High School: $500 for "Shooting RAW."
- Peggi Martin, third- through fifth-grade English teacher at Pritchardville Elementary School: $500 for "High Interest Readers for Lower Ability Students."
- Patricia Horton and William Gallagher, fourth-grade teachers at Broad River Elementary: $485.10 for "Math Manipulatives."