The Bradley Cleveland Public Education Foundation celebrated students, educators, and donors during its annual Gift, Grants & Gratitude luncheon on Friday, May 6 at the Westmore Student Center.
This year’s theme was “Building Tomorrow” and showcased innovative education occurring in Bradley County and Cleveland City Schools classrooms. BCPEF partnered with all 26 schools in both systems to fund projects for teachers, campuses, and district initiatives. These projects provided hands-on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) instruction for engaged student learning.
Dr. Nancy Blank, board president welcomed the crowd stating, “Gifts, Grants & Gratitude is my favorite event of the BCPEF year. We have the pleasure of seeing the results of monies raised to fund the innovative and dedicated educators’ ideas for their students. The depth of knowledge, understanding, enthusiasm, and joy evident by the students is rewarding and motivating to continue BCPEF’s support of our school system’s visionary strategic plans for the education of our students and the prosperity for our community and region.”
Foundation Past President Matt Bentley opened the program by sharing that over the past 10 years, through the generosity of private and corporate donors, BCPEF has invested over $3.4 million into the local public schools.
This generous investment into strategic programs, projects, and targeted professional development supports classroom instruction in 26 schools for over 16,000 students ultimately impacting our entire community," officials said.
Lunch was prepared and served by culinary arts students from Cleveland High School under the instruction of Chef Clyde Rush. This event allowed students to showcase their skills to both educators and community members alike.
This venue accommodated several breakout rooms which became classroom instruction spaces for teacher grant recipients.
Charleston STEAM Academy and Prospect Elementary showed off their “Bee Bots” which incorporated student-led technology and age-appropriate coding concepts. Charleston STEAM Academy also presented their Green Roof STEM project in which students researched and designed eco-friendly plans for educational campus construction using 3-D printing technology.
Mayfield Elementary displayed their “Rhythm of Africa” project incorporating music and art education. Students explored the sights and sounds of African culture including textiles, pottery, and ceremonial traditions while creating student art and music pieces of their own composition.
Cleveland High School students showed off their Torziken human torso models allowing students to manipulate the anatomy and specific pathology of the human body through three-dimensional exploration and interpretation.
Due to the threat of inclement weather, Yates Elementary was unable to perform their cross-curricular learning lesson based on the book The Day the Crayons Quit. However, students performed at their campus through a video recorded for the audience that morning.
Luncheon attendees were update on major projects occurring in both Cleveland City and Bradley County Schools. Bradley’s PIE (Partnerships in Industry & Education) Innovation Center and Cleveland’s upcoming TANGO Flight program were highlighted. Both initiatives will be functional in the upcoming academic year.
Lynn Voelz, BCPEF executive director, concluded the program by thanking the diverse charitable donors and committed educational professionals who have transformed education through the public schools. "Investments through the foundation have provided targeted professional development and a multitude of innovative programs for local educators," she said. She extended special thanks to Gift, Grants & Gratitude sponsors First Horizon Foundation and GEICO Philanthropic Foundation for their corporate support.