• Gulfport Chamber of Commerce Awards Annual Teacher Grants

    The Gulfport Chamber of Commerce recently awarded its 2021 Teacher Grants. Seven recipients of grants – each up to $500 and totaling $3,250 – were notified in person at their respective schools with a surprise visit.

    This year’s Gulfport Chamber of Commerce teacher grant recipients and their project summaries include:

    Jacqueline Wintruba, Anniston Elementary – Fourth grade students will create a living museum for the other students, based on their reading from the “Who Was?” Biography Series, which ties important people from history with summarization and creativity.

    Jennifer Ruiz, Central Elementary – First-graders will use indoor gardens to learn how to plant and grow food in hopes of creating lifelong gardeners capable of growing their own food. In addition to the life cycle of plants, students will learn importance of protecting the earth.

    Amy Lee, Gulfport High School – A new Square point of sale system will help Admiral Nation, a school spirit store operated by the Business students at GHS, better track inventory and process sales. The system is also one that is commonly used at retail stores and will provide students with work-ready skills when applying for jobs.

    Heather Nittianandan, Bel-Aire Elementary – Reusable grow bags will be used to create a school garden and teach planning, caring and harvesting. Students will take standards learned in the classroom, including the connection with nature, food supply and pollinating creatures, and apply them with this hands-on activity.

    Georgene Danjanic, West Harrison Middle School – WHMS Book Club will be created for 7th and 8th graders using 15 copies of four books that cover a mix of genres and protagonists and address universal issues such as loss, family and being the new kid. A new book would be read each month, with students meeting on the last Monday to discuss.

    Bethany Seal, West Harrison High School - Incorporating STEM into language arts, this effort will have junior and senior students in the Dual Credit Composition 2 course build tiny houses for a selected character from a shorty story, drama or novel unit. With the Tiny House Nation as inspiration for the projects, students must determine what their character would absolutely need in their tiny house and create ways to incorporate all of those needs into the small available space. Students will work together to actually construct a model tiny house, complete with a floor plan, furnishings and outdoor environment created to scale that would not exceed 500 square feet in its full-sized version.

    Sarah Snyder, Hope Academy – Cubes of Hope will grow “mathletes” by introducing 3-8 graders to the Rubik’s cube to benefit from the challenges of learning how to solve the puzzle, but also have for inspiration for the middle schoolers to create pixel art for the rest of the school to enjoy.

    Each year the Gulfport Chamber Teacher Grant programs uses a measured process to select innovative projects that meet educational needs and develop workforce-ready skills. These are funded through the program of work and generous sponsorships for local businesses. The 2021 sponsors included Bancorp South Bank, Community Bank, Keesler Federal Credit Union, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, Mississippi Power, Stars & Stripes Realty and The First, a National Banking Association.

    For more information, email Tracy Yanez at tracy@mscoastchamber.com or call the Chamber office at 228-604-0014.