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FOCUS Broadband Awards $40,000 in Education Grants to Local Educators

Shallotte, NC – FOCUS Broadband recently awarded $40,000 in grant funds to 22 educators to support programs that expand educational opportunities for students in Brunswick, Columbus, Robeson and Pender counties and to help purchase needed school supplies. The grant funds are part of the cooperative’s grant program, which has awarded over $1 million dollars in community and education grants to over 500 programs since its inception in 2006.

FOCUS Broadband’s Board Liaison for the 2023 Grant Committee, Julia Tripp, commented, “These grants are our way of showing appreciation to the educators that continue to make a difference in our communities. We are proud to award these grants and we look forward to seeing the positive impacts they will have on students and in our communities.”

This year’s grant recipients included:

Bolivia Elementary School (Elizabeth Schmidt): Through Breaking the Code; Teaching Students to Read, an intervention library will be available for teachers to check out programs that help address student needs.

Chadbourn Elementary School (Telisa Taylor Carter): Via Every Child Deserves a Voice, funds will be used to purchase technology, interactive learning programs and flexible seating to help enhance the exceptional children’s program.

East Robeson Primary School (Philippe John Sipacio): Funds will help establish a more conducive learning space for multilingual learning, equipped with a variety of bilingual children’s literature and picture books in Spanish and English, Creole and English, Arabic and English and more.

Hallsboro Artesia Elementary School (Karen Johnson): Funds will aid in purchasing necessary supplies for the school nurse, including a first aid kit, probe covers, a blood glucose monitoring system and more.

Leland Middle School (Shawn Black): An iPad will be purchased with the grant funds to allow the teacher to move throughout the classroom during instruction.

Lumberton Jr. High School (Silvia Guajardo Aragues): Via Achieving Communicative Competence, students with English as a second language will have access to essential English learning books.

Nakina Middle School (Kristen Wall & Clay Reaves): Grant funds will be used to purchase Chromebooks for student use.

North Brunswick High School (Gray Connelly): Through the Share Table program, students will be able to place unwanted packaged food, produce and drink options at a share table for donation rather than throwing away the items.

South Brunswick Middle School (Sarah Oja): With the You Matter project, students will have access to a safe spot that allows them to deescalate. The spot will offer resources to help students understand and cope with their feelings.

South Brunswick High School (Mario Lawrence): Via Breakout Boxes, students can challenge their problem-solving skills by solving puzzles that will unlock the locks in the boxes, similar to escape rooms.

South Brunswick High School (Savannah Bath): The grant funds will be used to purchase five student iPads to provide student-friendly tech tools in the classroom and help create more opportunities for collaboration and engagement.

Supply Elementary School (Tammy Brown): With Preparing to Learn, a classroom screen subscription, headphones for students, a dry erase board and markers, a thermal laminator and more will be purchased using grant funds.

Topsail Middle School (Jessica Roman): Through the TMS Adaptive Classroom Kitchen, funds will be used to purchase new cookware, allowing students to learn the fundamentals of cooking, cleaning, preparing healthy food options and budgeting for food shopping.

Town Creek Elementary School (Katie DeAnda): Grant funds will be used to help purchase approximately 60 headphones for fourth grade students to complete online learning.

Union Elementary School (Michelle Testa): Via the Science of Reading: EC Resource Library, students can learn through multi-sensory instruction by using decodable readers and teaching manipulatives.

Waccamaw School (Crystal Walker): The Heggerty Phonological Awareness Curriculum will be purchased to support reading proficiency through online resources.

West Brunswick High School (Aleen Moore): Whiteboards, markers, and erasers will be purchased to encourage student engagement in math courses.

West Brunswick High School (Jessie Mahoney): With the I’ve Spotted You! Program, digital biological microscope kits will be provided to allow students to learn through visual strategies rather than through text alone.

West Brunswick High School (Kelly Long): Walkie-talkies will be purchased for the physical science courses, allowing students to perform science experiments throughout the building safely.

Williams Township School (Wendell Duncan & Toni Stocks): Funds will be used to purchase an additional AED kit and Stop Bleed Basic Kit for the school.

“Our educators are a valuable resource in our community, and we are thankful for their dedication in ensuring that our students receive the opportunities they need to succeed,” said FOCUS Broadband CEO, Keith Holden. “With these grants, educators can implement new programs that can aid students in their studies, purchase needed supplies in the classroom and create a safe environment for both students and other educators.”

FOCUS Broadband will be accepting applications for the 2024 Community Connect Grants and Education Grants program beginning early this December. For more information regarding the grant programs, please visit or contact 910-755-1885.

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