LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - The Lubbock-Cooper Education Foundation surprised teachers on Thursday, presenting grants to winning classrooms.
Every year, the foundation gives back through grant money. This year, they surprised over 45 teachers from their elementary, middle, junior high and high schools, giving them a total of $105,000. Teachers were greeted with drum lines, cheerleaders, confetti, and a giant-sized check right outside of their classrooms.
The Foundation also put on a luncheon for all the winners at Lubbock-Cooper High School. Emily Vanderpool and Kent Park, both freshmen biology teachers at Lubbock Cooper High School, received two of the highest grants, in the amount of $9,920, which they plan on using to purchase DNA testing equipment called PCR machines for their classroom.
“Normally, in a lab, it’s a giant machine and it’s very expensive. You can use it with an iPad, so it’s going to integrate into the iPads that we already have and then we’ll be able to copy DNA and do this lab work really easily,” Vanderpool said. “It’s actually a little plastic vial. It goes into the PCR machine. It basically adds more DNA to the sample," Vanderpool said.
With a swab of a cheek, or a sample from a lab, the students will be able to replicate their own patterns and compare their DNA with their friends. Vanderpool said the kids are already excited about it and that with the grant money, they will have enough PCR machines for the whole classroom so everyone can work together during the lesson.
Vanderpool also noted that the information they will learn with the PCR machines can carry over to other courses like forensics. She said incorporating the use of the machine into their curriculum is going to help students start thinking about careers and help them dive into in the future.
Mickey Rogers, President of the Lubbock Cooper Education Foundation, praised teachers at the luncheon, saying, “That’s what makes our Lubbock school system so good... our school teachers. They’re the best teachers in the state, I believe. They teach with passion. They love these kids with their hearts. I haven’t seen teachers like this do it in any other place. They’re going to do great."
Over the years, teachers have used their grant funds for coding equipment, physical education technology, a mobile kitchen, drones for a marketing course and more.
The Lubbock-Cooper Education Foundation will host a concert featuring Josh Abbott Band and guest Mike Ryan on Saturday, April 6. Proceeds from the concert will benefit educational grants and student scholarships. Tickets can be purchased at selectaseatlubbock.com.