Colonial Life awards $25,000 to Richland District One teachers

Grants support innovative and creative lesson ideas in the classroom.

COLUMBIA, S.C. (Oct. 29, 2014) — Colonial Life is awarding $25,000 in grants to 35 teachers in Richland County School District One through its Strong Schools Grant program. The program supports teachers in the school district who have innovative and creative ideas for increasing student engagement. Teachers applied to receive grants of up to $1,000 to purchase equipment and technology for science, technology, engineering, arts and math courses.

“Many teachers in our communities have great ideas for different approaches to learning, but sometimes they lack the resources to put their ideas into action,” said Marie McGehee, manager of community relations for Colonial Life. “Our hope is these mini-grants to outstanding teachers will help prepare the next generation of our community’s workforce.”

Thirty-five teachers in 22 Richland One schools received grants for the following projects:

Alcorn Middle School

  • Sandy Frazier. Grant will fund materials to provide sixth-grade special education students with an introduction to the fundamentals of electricity and energy flow in machines through the design, assembly and programming of micro-controller circuit models.

Carver-Lyon Elementary School

  • Megan Gee and Diana Washington. Grant will fund iPod Touches and QR code readers for third- grade art and music students to research the Baroque period and connections between art and music.

Challenger Learning Center

  • Ed Triest. Grant will fund the purchase of flight simulator iPad applications and headsets for middle school students to study physics and earth sciences by acting as air-traffic controllers and pilots with simulated exercises in preflight planning, en route, approach and landing phases of flight.

Crayton Middle School

  • Ann Carbone. Grant will fund materials to create and test robotic attachments by a Science, Technology Engineering and Math Club for middle school students interested in learning about the engineering design process.

Dreher High School

  • Ilona Sunday and Sumter Link. Grant will fund the purchase of an electronic musical instrument 11th- and 12th-grade students will use as a model to apply the concepts of waves, sound and electricity to build their own instrument.

E.E. Taylor Elementary School

  • Kendra Lynn. Grant will fund three iPad Minis and applications for fourth-graders to research science, technology engineering, arts and math careers and participate in project-based learning activities.

Eau Claire High School

  • Latha Janet. Grant will fund rocket kits and engines to teach ninth-grade physics students the laws of force and motion and the chemical reactions of rocket fuel through the construction and launching of model rockets.

Forest Heights Elementary School

  • Jennifer Jeffers. Grant will fund supplies to promote the Morning Math program that focuses on a daily math problem specific to each grade level to encourage critical thinking and problem solving skills.

Heyward Gibbes Middle School

  • Lillie Hardison. Grant will fund an outside classroom, including benches, a fire pit, a podium and a recorder with speakers, to enable eighth-grade earth science students to record their scientific observations and make comparisons to their bodies and their universe.
  • Konstanza Shier. Grant will fund an iPad mini, costumes and props to enable sixth-grade students to create video book trailers and blogs, podcasts and virtual tours.

H.B. Rhame Elementary School

  • Stacey Keough. Grant will fund robotic and control kits to help third- through fifth-grade students use critical thinking and problem-solving skills to increase their science knowledge of laws of motion, temperature, sound and sensory movements.

Hand Middle School

  • Jennifer Simmons. Grant will fund video equipment to give eighth-grade theatre students hands-on experience in film and video production by producing public service announcement videos.

Hopkins Elementary School

  • Peggy Bowick, Margaret Susan Edwards, Michelle Middleton and Cynthia Vieira. Grant will fund a field trip to the S.C. State Museum’s new planetarium and portable planetarium classroom visits to help special education students develop their interest in and knowledge of astronomy.

Hopkins Middle School

  • Deidre Rumph. Grant will fund science equipment to help seventh-graders create their own slides of cells and unicellular organisms, view them with a digital microscope and create cell portrait artwork.

W.J. Keenan High School

  • Kirstin Bullington. Grant will fund microbiology lab kits for ninth-grade biology students to better understand the connection between the microbes that live in and around us and their vital role in our health and behavior.

Lower Richland High School

  • Constantina Green. Grant will fund materials for high school physics students to design and construct an electrical wiring system for a model house.
  • Kathryn Miller. Grant will fund a mobile recording studio, software and speakers so orchestra students can make recordings and play back the music to evaluate their performance and improve the ensemble sound.
  • Oliver Williams. Grant will fund camera equipment so visual arts and photography students can create a variety of expressive portraits of themselves and fellow students, introducing them to the career field of portrait photography.

Meadowfield Elementary School

  • Meredith Trobaugh. Grant will fund the purchase of drums for folk story-telling through rhythm and enable students to participate in a drum circle as part of a group while gaining confidence in their story-telling abilities.

Olympia Learning Center

  • Jackson Akwiembi, Nizamuddin Ameer and Rebecca Sons. Grant will fund materials for sixth- through 11th-grade students to apply mathematical concepts and gain base experience in architectural design and construction by building a model home.
  • Theron Jamison and Doris Williams. Grant will fund clamp lamps, digital thermometers, thermal camera iPad apps and art supplies to teach seventh-grade students studying science, technology engineering and math the importance of energy conservation in residential homes

Rosewood Elementary School

  • Angela Peay. Grant will fund iPad minis, a balance scale and a metric mass set to help fourth- and fifth- graders explore standard and non-standard measurement concepts and conversion strategies through hands-on exploration of real world objects.

W.G. Sanders Middle School

  • Brenda Outten. Grant will fund a 3-D printer so career and technology education students can learn the process of becoming an entrepreneur through three-dimensional computer-aided design.

South Kilbourne Elementary School

  • Allison Granish-Lee. Grant will fund materials to teach first-grade students how to complete non-moving and moving challenges such as building a wall to withstand the flick test, building a box to prevent a bag of marshmallows from being squished when a heavy object is placed on top and connecting pulleys to mobilize as series of axles.
  • Lucelia Wilson. Grant will fund frog habitats, tadpoles and frog food to create a fun way for second- graders to learn about frogs’ life cycles and how frogs camouflage to blend into their environment.

St. Andrews Middle School

  • Hadiyah Fields. Grant will fund smart phones to help students learn the fundamental basics of creating educational applications to solve real-world problems.

W.A. Perry Middle School

  • Angela Williams. Grant will fund video equipment so seventh- and eighth-grade students can make a 20-minute movie about an algebraic topic under the guidance and direction of the technology, band and dance teachers.

“These grants will allow our teachers to implement creative projects to enhance the learning experience for their students,” said Dr. Cynthia Cash-Greene, interim superintendent, Richland School District One. “Colonial Life is one of the district’s longtime business partners and the Strong Schools Grant Program is yet another example of the company’s ongoing support.”

This is the second year Colonial Life has funded the Strong Schools Grant program. In its first year, the company awarded 27 grants totaling $25,000. Colonial Life’s other education partnerships include a 12-year reading and mentoring relationship with St. Andrews Middle School, after-school enrichment programs with Boys & Girls Clubs of the Midlands at E.E. Taylor Elementary School, mentoring through Big Brothers Big Sisters at H.B. Rhame Elementary School, and College Summit’s Peer Leader Academy summer workshops with Columbia High School students.

About Colonial Life

Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company is a market leader in providing financial protection benefits through the workplace, including disability, life, accident, dental, cancer, critical illness and hospital confinement indemnity insurance. The company’s benefit services and education, innovative enrollment technology and personal service support more than 80,000 businesses and organizations, representing more than 3 million of America’s workers and their families. For more information visit or connect with the company at, and