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Teacher Mini-Grant Recipients Announced!

Updated: Dec 22, 2023

The Sturgis Area Community Foundation, along with local service clubs, including Sturgis Kiwanis Club, Sturgis Exchange Club, Sturgis Lion Club, Sturgis Rotary Club, and Sturgis Eastside Kiwanis Club, has recently announced the names of 20 recipients who will receive over $9,000 in grant funds through the Teacher Mini-Grant program.

Each year, mini-grants provide teachers with resources for innovative classroom initiatives that enhance the educational experience for their students. These grants are usually awarded to support projects and programs that align with the curriculum, such as classroom improvements, expanding existing programs, technology upgrades, educational experiences, and projects that promote arts and culture. All Sturgis Public School teachers and staff are eligible to apply and submit an application in early fall each year.

Meet Our Recipients

Sturgis High School

Allen Meyer - Yearbook Camera Equipment

Allen's grant award will support the yearbook class at Sturgis High School with the funds to purchase a new camera and lenses. With more cameras available for students, they will be able to cover more events in different places.

Brooke Moses - College Visit With the support of a mini-grant, Brooke is organizing a college visit for the English 10 classes. This trip will be a valuable opportunity for high school students to visit a college where they will go on a campus tour and learn about the college's programs. Visiting a college campus is often cited as the most important element that helps a student decide if a college is right for them. The goal of the trip is to help inspire students and support them with their educational dreams.

Mari Campbell - Lady Trojans

Funding for Mari's project will support the Lady Trojans program at SHS, which was created by a high school senior. The program strives to provide feminine hygiene products in female restrooms at the high school. Research has discovered that 1 in 5 girls in the US have missed school due to a lack of access to menstrual products. Mari shared that,

“Providing these products and making them easily accessible has been greatly appreciated by many of our female students.”

Sturgis Middle School

Benjamin Cunningham- STEM and Reqards for ISD Students

Funding for Benjamin's project will provide the resources needed to purchase STEM models, tangible rewards, and the ability to reward students for daily jobs around the school.

Stacey Richardson - Marker Center

SACF's mini-grant will support Stacy's STEM class at Sturgis Middle School, which is designed specifically for students with moderate to severe disabilities in special education. To support learning, the class uses a variety of consumable and reusable marker supplies. Items purchased for the class include magnet kits, Legos, circuit sets, building kits, crafting supplies, and other items students find interesting.

Nikita Milliman - Hard Copies for Hard Issues

Nikita's mini-grant will be used to purchase 25 copies of the graphic novel "Avengers, X-Men, Eternals: Judgment Day." This specific book tells the story of a human-created God passing judgment upon the world based on their belief, actions, and inner thoughts. Students will use this collection of comics to discuss judgments on people who are different or have mutations.

Megan Watkins - Trojan Times Newspaper - Middle School

Megan will use mini-grant funds to support the Trojan Times Newspaper at Sturgis Middle School with new equipment and supplies. This upgrade for students will help them to work in a timely manner and to continue to make the school newspaper special and unique.

Jodie Scheid - Survivor 8th Grade Activity

With support from a mini-grant, Jodie, along with other Sturgis Middle School 8th-grade teachers, will be taking all 8th-grade students to Camp Fort Hill for the "Survivor 8th Grade Activity" event. Students will spend the day participating in group competitions that range from a food adventure, balance challenge, canoeing, and mental challenges. This is a time for students to have fun and use team building and strategies to complete each activity.

Andrea Littlefield - Poultry Project

The goal of the Social Studies Intro to Agriculture Class is to connect students to the Agricultural Industry. With Andrea's grant award, students will explore how an embryo develops inside of a chicken egg over time, discuss life cycles, and observe the similarities and differences between parents and offspring. Through hands-on learning and personal experience, students will learn scientific processes, develop hypotheses, practice using scientific tools, and learn responsibility.

Whitney Bast - Traveling Art Exhibit

Grant support for Whitney's "Traveling Art Exhibit" project is made to enrich students' experiences in Art and deepen their understanding of the visual world. The specific exhibit called "Art Beyond Borders" will explore Art as a universal language.

Whitney emphasizes,

“In a world of nearly 7 billion people, it’s easy to find differences. This exhibit will help students discover how we all have something in common – the desire to express ourselves with art."

Morgan Lovelace - Sensory Tools

Morgan's mini-grant will be used to purchase sensory tools for her self-contained classroom and meet the needs of the students in the class. Sensory tools are a great way to help regulate students when they are overstimulated due to factors out of their control. All items purchased will also be circulated to other classrooms at Sturgis Middle School.

Jody Cline - Unified Club

With Jody's mini-grant, funds will go to the Sturgis Middle School Unified Club luncheons, where students participate in team-building activities, making crafts, STEM activities, and creating Holiday crafts.

Charles Long - Woodshop Machinery

Charles will use grant funds to purchase a Scroll Saw for the Woodshop class at Sturgis Middle School. The saw will be helpful to all students in creating internal cuts on woodshop projects.

Eastwood Elementary School

Michelle Gruver - Rhythm Band

With funding for her "Rhythm Band" project, Michelle will purchase boom whackers, rhythm sticks, and mallets to allow music classes to play as a rhythm band! This project will be used as an extension activity to class lessons as well as an incentive for great class behavior.

Ashley Mostrom - Classroom Economy

Ashley received a mini-grant to support her "Classroom Economy" project, which is a social studies unit taught to 5th-graders. Students spend the year discussing money, taxes, salaries, and bills. Each student then receives class money that is used to model all of the ideas. The cumulating project for this unit is Market Day, where students can set up their own businesses and purchase items from each other. The business owner must pay rent for their space, pay bills, and set up their business all on their own.

Ashley shared that,

“Market Day teaches responsibility yet also gives students the freedom to be more responsible on their own without adult help. Students enjoy participating in the classroom economy unit, and we enjoy teaching them real-life skills.”

Wall Elementary School

Cassidy Haas - Accessible Communication

Funding for Cassidy's project will be used to purchase inclusive communication signs for students to use on the playground. The boards will assist students who receive special education services, have limited speaking skills, and use visuals to communicate. Cassidy believes

“Everyone deserves to have access to communication at all times! This will provide a great opportunity for increased communication at the playground and help build acceptance, connection, and understanding within our school community.”

Cheryl Neiser - Recess Fun

With a SACF mini-grant, Cheryl will provide students with more options for having fun at recess, both inside and outside. Some of the items she is planning to purchase include hula hoops, foam frisbees, scoops with balls, ankle skip balls, exercise dice, a giant tic-tac-toe board, and bins for storage of the new items.

Julie Goodlock - Readers are Leaders

Julie will use her mini-grant award to provide students with engaging reading material (print & digital) that supports Common Cores State Standards through inspiring grade-level specific nonfiction stories. The goal is to expand students' background knowledge and vocabulary, provide exposure to nonfiction reading materials, and support family involvement.

Katelyn Lopez - Bags for Books!

A contributing factor to rapid literacy growth is the use of take-home books. Grant funding will support Katelyn's project by providing students with reliable and sturdy bags for their books that are taken home for reading materials with their families.

Congress Elementary School

Amy Claar - Let's Be Creative! - STEM Toys for Begindergarten

With funding for her project, Amy will be able to add new items to the pre-k learning centers around small-group rotations where students utilize a variety of building sets to develop their motor skills, creative processing, and social interactions.


Through philanthropic services, strategic investments, and community leadership, Sturgis Area Community Foundation helps people support the causes they care about, now and for generations to come. For more information on grants or donor services, email

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