Cheerleaders and a drum line from John Tyler and Lee high schools thundered through the halls of schools all over Tyler, helping make educators’ dreams come true on Tuesday.

Cheerleaders from Lee and the JT drum line led a caravan of community members partnering with the Tyler ISD Foundation through 21 campuses to present teachers and staff with big checks during the annual Grants for Great Ideas program.

Tyler ISD Foundation Executive Director Betsy Jones said she was excited to surprise the teachers and their classrooms with the good news.

“We are so excited today, we are so thankful to the Tyler community for all of their support,” she said. “It’s because of their generosity that we will be awarding 37 Grants for Great Ideas for over $90,000 (total).”

Jones said the grants are designed to help fund innovative and creative ideas that the district or state’s budget wouldn’t normally cover. Their goal is to help teachers and staff bring ideas to fruition that support student enrichment and achievement.

“These are things that really allow us to support new opportunities for our districts and students,” she said.

Altogether more than 8,000 students will benefit from the ideas being funded this year. It’s also the largest disbursement in the past decade, with the Tyler ISD Foundation funding $80,969.57 and Tyler ISD Fine Arts adding $9,147.

Grants being funded range from a multipurpose medical response skills station for EMT and Health Sciences students at the Career and Technology Center to an event hosted by cosmetology students to help disadvantaged students and a Play in the Park set so the Lee theater department can put on plays at local parks and campuses.

Cory is a multimedia journalist and member of the Education Writers Association, Criminal Justice Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors. He has appeared on Crime Watch Daily and Grave Mysteries on Investigation Discovery.

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