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Ellen Eisele Memorial Fund Awards First Grants for Teachers

Updated: Jan 23, 2023

Renee Bowman and Connie Metzger pose with Katelyn Lopez, a 2021 Ellen Eisele Memorial Grant winner.

Ellen Eisele loved teaching. Her colleagues remember her as a hardworking and dedicated teacher who always went above and beyond for both her students and the profession. That's why when Ellen passed away unexpectedly in June 2020, her family, friends, and colleagues joined together to establish the Ellen Eisele Memorial Fund - a permanently endowed fund of the Sturgis Area Community Foundation.

Because Ellen recognized that teachers, especially those newer to the profession, could use financial support to build their classrooms and develop as teachers, the purpose of the Ellen Eisele Memorial Fund is to provide classroom grants in support of local teachers, especially those who are newer to the profession.

This week, two local teachers have been selected to receive classroom grants in memory of Ellen. Katelyn Lopez, a Pre-K through 2nd grade technology teacher and Maria Lambert, a fourth grade teacher at Eastwood School.

About the Recipients

With her grant, Lopez will be purchasing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) materials that can be used by all of her PreK - 2nd grade students.

"Now more than ever, I feel that it's important for students to get hands-on experience while learning new technology concepts. Using the STEM materials that I currently have, I have been able to integrate technology with real life, hands-on activities. The additional materials will give me the opportunity to teach these lessons to all of my classes instead of just a limited few," shared Lopez.

At Eastwood, Maria Lambert hopes to use her grant to build her classroom and ensure students have access to all of the supplies they need, as well as create an inclusive environment.

This is my second year of teaching and have yet to build my class. I want school to be fun and inviting. I don't want kids to ever feel bad because they don't have something.

Grant applications for the Ellen Eisele Memorial Fund will be made available to teachers each year in the Fall. For questions about grant applications or funds, contact the Sturgis Area Community Foundation at

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