McDonald's has presented more than $7,000 in classroom grants to 18 area school teachers, including nine in Bedford and Blair counties.
Bedford Area Middle School physical education teacher Meg Pajak received a grant this month for pedometers, double dutch jump ropes and bags of games that students can take home on weekends.
"Any money we can get for the kids is just awesome," she said. "Grant money helps us replenish supplies we've lost and get relevant with the times."
Pajak has been applying and receiving McDonald's grants for the past six years, but this year she was joined by other teachers in the district.
Six Bedford Area teachers received a combined $2,545.
The grants of up to $500 per teacher are to fund the teachers' plans for a project or need they proposed. The grants will be used to replace 25-year-old music stands at Bedford Area, as well as fund new calculators and a science class project to examine groundwater pollution.
A closer look
Bedford Middle School
Butch Beidle, $475
Evan Cumo, $458
Jonathan Harrold, $363
Meggie Pajak, $464
Jack Pencil, $387
Bedford High School
Michele Fisher, $398
Junior High School
Leigh Ann Craig, $504
Debbie Martin, $522
Tricia Rosas, $230
In Blair County, three Hollidaysburg Area teachers received a combined $1,256 in McDonald's grants.
"These grants allow teachers to do projects they wouldn't otherwise be able to do," Hollidaysburg Area Junior High Principal Ed Barton said. "And the equipment we purchase with the grants is used year after year. It's not a one-time shot."
Hollidaysburg Area teachers plan to purchase computer tablets for reading classes as well as specialized computer equipment for science classes.
This year's McDonald's classroom grant recipients were chosen based on "strong creativity and educational value" by a panel of professional educators, a press release states. The winning hands-on project ideas cover a wide range of activities, including exploring a replicated Revolutionary War haversack, constructing a greenhouse and creating a mock Olympic games.
"Now in its 19th year, the [McDonald's classroom grant] program has awarded more than a million dollars to tri-state area teachers who create memorable learning experiences for their students," the press release states.
Mirror Staff Writer Russ O'Reilly is at 946-7435