56 Central Illinois teachers receive PNC First Grant Award

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PEORIA, Ill. —  The PNC Foundation and the Ruby K. Worner Charitable Trust awarded 56 Central Illinois Teachers the “PNC First Grant,” which is the largest number of recipients the program has ever had.

The ceremony took place Thursday at the Peoria Riverfront Museum.

For the past 29 years, the foundation has awarded 856 grants, and more than $522,000 dollars, to help Central Illinois teachers accomplish creative and innovative projects they normally wouldn’t be able to fund due to budget limitations.

Brian Ray, Central Illinois’ Regional President for PNC Bank, said the grant has proven to be essential.

“It is the need in the community,” Ray said. “It’s the need in the schools. As we continue to see these innovative projects, we really want to stand behind these teachers and behind these schools to allow these projects to continue to flourish.”

Ray referred to projects from teachers like Kenyon Jodlowski, who’s a first time recipient of the grant. Jodlowski teaches agriculture at Midwest Central High School and he said the grant is helping him purchase machinery to give his students hands-on experience.

“Using this grant to purchase this CNC machine, students are actually learning before they get out in the industry important skills that they could gon on to pursue a career within that area,” Jodlowski said.

Third-year recipient and Theater teacher Kathleen Irvin said she feels the same way. She said the grant is helping her teach Shakespeare in a creative way.

“We will be doing some costuming, building some props,” Irvin said. “Doing things to make Shakespeare come alive for both the high schoolers and the elementary students.”

Irvin also said with Illinois having a tight budget, extra grants for teachers are needed.

“Funding is being cut and costs are going up, so we have to get creative a lot of times to fund things that may not always be apart of the curriculum,” Irvin said. “So opportunities like this are a godsend to us.”

This year the foundation awarded $42,000 in grant money.

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