By Sonya Campbell

Harker Heights Herald

BELTON - Christmas came early for several teachers and three paraprofessionals at Belton school campuses Wednesday, when about $34,000 in grants was presented by the Belton Education Enrichment Foundation.

This year's total is the largest amount given in one year by the foundation, said Judy Owens, spokeswoman for the Belton Independent School District.

The money awarded to the teachers will fund classroom enrichment projects. The paraprofessionals will use their share to continue their education.

Members of the BEEF Patrol - consisting of BISD administration personnel, BEEF and school board members - converged upon each campus in celebratory fashion.

Instead of arriving by sleigh, the patrol opted for a school bus, and instead of Santa's bag of presents, they carried checks, balloons, bouquets and noisemakers.

After making their presentations amid smiles, clapping and cheers from school staff and students, patrol members climbed back on the school bus and headed to their next stop.

Grant recipients include:

Paraprofessionals: Becky Olson, Technology Department, $500; Misty Reid, Tarver Elementary, $500; Gary Connor, Belton High School, $500.

Southwest Elementary: "Classrooms of the Future" for $4,643.44 to third-grade teachers Mayra Velez, Christy Hood, Julie Piper and Lori Curry to provide eight Dell Notebooks.

Leon Heights Elementary: "MimioPad Wireless Tablet" for $3,588 to fifth-grade teachers Kathleen McCarty, Denise Bowles, Dana Jackson and Emily Payne to provide 12 MimioPad Wireless Tablets.

Sparta Elementary: "Teaching Music SMART" for $2,983.50 to music teachers Keri Dudley and Zachary Kline to provide a SMART Board and music software; "Teaching Today Using Tomorrow's Technology" for $1,515 to fifth-grade teachers Seth Fredrickson, Holly Clark, Allison Schiller, Sara Pyle, and Michelene Bess for five ELMO writing tablets.

Lakewood Elementary: "Tiny Hands with Big Books" for $2,000 to kindergarten teachers Sarah Taggart, Angela Chrestman, Michelle Francis, Stormy LeBlanc and Lisa Pope to purchase books for the kindergarten classrooms; "Digital Text and the 'Tween' Generation for $3,600.76 to fifth-grade teachers LaGay Pittenger, Anna Tuma and Judy Moore for 18 Nook electronic readers.

Belton High School: "Bootleg Elmos" for $1,335.84 to math facilitator Elizabeth McMurtry for document cameras for the math department; "Navigating through Mathematics" for $3,750 to math teachers Rebecca Vasek, Keith Meyer, Nicholas Pettijohn, Emily Powell, Jesse Rodriguez, and Daphne Woodall for purchase of a TI Navigator System.

Belton Middle School: "Lights, Camera, Spanish" for $3,813 to Spanish teachers Gina Bielanski, Sara Reinstatler, Lindsay Unsworth and Martha Cardenas for cameras, equipment and software for the Spanish classrooms.

Lake Belton Middle School: "Project Probeware" for $4,858 to Lake Belton Middle School sixth-grade science teachers Glenda Johnson, Stacey Guerrero, Mona Butler, and facilitator Ava Bartek for Labquest/Venier Science Probes.

Since 2003, the foundation has awarded $188,079.96 in grants.

Contact Sonya Campbell at or (254) 501-7585.

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