It was an eye-catching, spectacular scene.
The quiet of several Tyler ISD schools was broken by the John Tyler High School drum line playing loudly, and the Robert E. Lee High School cheerleaders clapping and chanting "TISD, Tyler ISD" as they moved down hallways.
Curious students spilled out of classrooms or paused on their way to class to stare at the commotion.
When the drum line and cheerleaders reached particular classrooms, representatives of Tyler ISD Foundation stepped forward to present foundation grants to surprised teachers.
Altogether, the foundation's grant patrol handed out 17 grants totaling $40,969 on 14 campuses Thursday. After each presentation, there were cheers, congratulations, hugs and handshakes.
When the patrol showed up at the room of Brad Langley, an engineering teacher at the Career and Technology Center, he said the fanfare with students from both high schools "kind of shocked and a little bit stunned" him.
The $5,000 grant, he said, will help fund students in the engineering club to design and build remote controlled airplanes, build model rockets and other projects.
"They are going to learn the electronics of it and learn how to put them together and get to work with their hands on stuff,' Langley said.
Part of the funding will provide travel for the students to come to and from the center after school for club activities.
"We seek out donations from private industry, companies and private donors. This is the funds we've allocated this year for teachers," Marc A. Loredo, a member of the foundation board of directors, said about how the foundation funds the grants.
"Today's a great day. Our education foundation has worked so hard to make sure that teachers can provide the little things for our teachers that our normal budget can't provide - the enrichment programs outside the scope and sequence of what the state requires … I appreciate the foundation for doing that," Tyler ISD Superintendent Dr. Marty Crawford said.
At Dogan Middle School, teacher Janna Dugie was about to get mad at the school band for coming down the hallway in the middle of a test when the noisy prize patrol showed up.
Upon realizing it was the prize patrol there to give her a $396 grant, she said she felt "completely embarrassed and excited."
Sponsor of the Dogan student council, Ms. Dugie said the money will be used for 12 student council members to go to the state capitol, tour the capitol building, talk to state representatives and tour the Bob Bullock Museum.
Art Teacher Melba Williams' mouth dropped open, and tears of happiness filled her eyes when the grant patrol appeared at her classroom door at Austin Elementary School.
"I thought they had already given out all the grants, and I didn't get (one). I had given up hope," she said.
With the $907 grant, Ms. Williams plans to use Chrome books for students to go online to research artists and different types of arts, let them use their Gmail to share their pictures with other people and use the Chrome books to visit big-city art museums.
Alacia Reid, who teaches choir and theater at Hogg Middle School, said the school would use its grant for a production of Disney's Peter Pan Jr with a cast and crew of 34 kids.
"We are doing sets, props, costumes, acting, dancing, lights and sound," she said.
Grants for Tyler ISD Teachers
Using Chrome books: The Newest Art Tool - $907
Enhancing Education through EAGALA - $1,650
Sarah Jane Walker
We Can Fly - $4,970
Teri de Jong
Lora K. King
Family Game Night - $1,500
Imagineer's S.T.E.M. Club - $2,500
S.T.E.M. in Dixie Elementary - $2,452
Adalberto De La Fuente
Finding Financial Literacy in the Library - $4,384
Jack Leader – Learning in Motion - $2,160
Chillville - $2,000
Dogan Middle School
Falcon Leadership to State Capitol - $396
Hogg Middle School
You Can Fly - $1,350
Moore Middle School
Chrome Books – Consistent Help Reaps Ongoing Excellence $4,824
Three Lakes Middle School
Alamo Bowl - $1,000
Career & Technology Center
Engineering the Future - $5,000
Robert E. Lee
Sensory Habitat - $2,500
Earth and Space Science Trip to Houston NASA - $1,467