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Creating community in Collierville

The 2023-2024 school year is in full swing, and we are thrilled to see students back in the classroom using grant-funded materials. As new grants are handed out each year, we are surprised at the unique ideas teachers think of to enhance their lessons and students’ overall educational experience. One component we look for when scoring a grant is its potential future impact on the greater school community. Providing grants that will impact students beyond their initial classrooms for many years to come is important to us. Here are just a few of the grants that are fostering community in Collierville Schools and around the world.

Not every student finds themselves recreationally wandering into the library, something Shirey Szalay, Collierville High School librarian, noted. Shirey brainstormed ways to get students back in the library and thought games could be enticing. CEF granted the CHS library with oversized games like Connect 4, Sorry!, checkers, jigsaw puzzles and even a mini golf set. With the new sets of games, more high schoolers are finding themselves in the library. The goal of the grant was to get students in the library with the hopes of them checking out a book while there. The grant is a win because students get to have fun, spend time with their classmates and fall back into good reading habits.

Board game club is a popular after-school activity among West Collierville Middle School students. It’s a way to wind down after a busy day at school and hang out with friends, especially for those not interested in other clubs or sports. One word to describe the board game club would be “collaborative,” since the students all play together and instruct each other on rules for new games. With the rise in club members, Benjamin West requested new board games from CEF to accommodate all students interested in the club, as well as introduce new games to the students. CEF was thrilled to oblige in providing new games for Benjamin’s club.

Art teacher Sarah Long at Crosswind Elementary learned about The Memory Project and knew it was an incredible opportunity for her students. The project started in 2004 as a “youth arts organization that promotes intercultural understanding and kindness between children around the world.” Collierville students are sent photos of children in different countries who have faced hardships, such as being orphaned or living in extreme poverty. Our students use these photos to draw a portrait of children from across the globe to create identity art highlighting their positive character traits. The best part? The Memory Project provides updates to the classroom after the children in other countries receive their portraits. The reactions on the Crosswind students’ faces are entirely worth it when they hear a child across the globe has received their artwork.

Teachers, applications are now open for this year’s grant cycle and the process is now completely virtual. Visit this page to see what you will need in order to apply. We can’t wait to see all of the amazing ideas you come up with!


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