• PSJA Education Foundation awards more than $25,000 to teachers

    PHARR – As a way to give back to the community and support education, the PSJA Education Foundation awarded more than $25,000 in competitive Teacher Mini Grants to Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD educators during surprise classroom visits Jan. 11-12.

    Founded in 2013, the PSJA Education Foundation is an independent non-profit organization operating exclusively for the benefit of the faculty and students in PSJA ISD. Each year, the Foundation awards competitive teacher grants to fund creative classroom projects, as well as, scholarships to district students to help fund their college tuition and library grants to support literacy district wide.

     Foundation Board Members visited 20 district campuses during the two-day period to surprise the selected recipients. From over 80 applications received, they awarded 34 grants ranging from $500 to $1,000.

     For Michelle Rosales, Librarian at McKeever Elementary in Alamo, receiving a $1,000 grant to purchase new books for her students left her in tears.

     “I feel so very honored,” said Rosales. “A lot of them don’t have money to get new books or go to Barnes & Noble, some have never even been there. These books are going to help them so much.”

     In addition to promoting literacy, projects selected touched on a variety of different topics including: career pathways, environmental projects, science and even fine arts.

     At PSJA North Early College High School, art students will be creating a new artistic courtyard for reading or studying thanks to the grant.

     “I’m super excited to produce something with the kids that everyone will be able to enjoy,” said Rebeca Rivera, PSJA North ECHS Art teacher and one of the grant recipients. “Thank you for the support. It’s projects like these that remind people how important art is to the community.”

     In addition to awarding Teacher Mini Grants, the Foundation is currently accepting student scholarship applications; deadline is Jan. 31. All this is possible, thanks to the help and support of community sponsors and the generous monthly contributions of PSJA ISD employees.

     “Every dollar that we raise goes back to teachers or students in scholarships or grants,” said Joel A. Gonzalez, foundation president. “This year, we are planning to award more than $200,000 in scholarships and $14,000 to our libraries.”

    Having successfully awarded numerous teachers with grants, the foundation president emphasized the importance of education and giving back.

     “Our goal is to help educate our children,” Gonzalez said. “We know that teachers do a great job. The better educated our children are, the better our communities will be in the future.”