ERIE, Pa. -- Two teachers from Wattsburg Area Middle School have won a
$15,000 Verizon Foundation grant to fund a student-run Web site dedicated to the glacial
lakes of northwest Pennsylvania.
Math teacher Brenda Gregory and science teacher Mary Beth Hengelbrok will use the
grant from the foundation's Growth Initiatives for Teachers (GIFT) program to conduct a
school enrichment program for 160 sixth-graders during the 2001-2002 school year. The
grant also will allow the teachers to participate in several unique professional
development activities throughout the year.
"The foundation's GIFT initiative provides much-needed support to our
communities' math and science classrooms," said Daniel J. Whelan, president of
Verizon Pennsylvania. "Through these grants from Verizon Foundation, we aim to
boost teachers' enthusiasm for teaching and increase student achievement by providing
innovative learning opportunities."
Students at the school are involved with Earth Force, a national organization that seeks to
increase student awareness of environmental issues. Following a model developed by
Earth Force, the project will enable the students to develop and maintain a Web site
highlighting northwest Pennsylvania's Lake Pleasant, located within the school district.
During the school year, students will obtain information about Lake Pleasant and other
glacial lakes in the region, collect digital images for the Web site, conduct interviews
with experts, visit the lake, take part in an archeological dig, and participate in a
videoconference with the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. Throughout the
project, students will have hands-on experience with computer software, scanners, digital
cameras and archeology tools.
The GIFT grant also will fund a professional development program for the teachers.
Gregory and Hengelbrok will become volunteers with Mercyhurst College's archeology
department at its dig site at the Buckaloons in Allegheny County. They will study the
Lake Pleasant project at the Field Museum and attend the Pennsylvania Association for
Educational Communications conference. The teachers also will take an 11-day
educational tour of the ruins of the ancient Mayan culture in Mexico.
The GIFT program awards grants to deserving educators whose projects strengthen math
and science education in grades 6-12. Recipients are chosen by a panel of mathematics
and science educators under the guidance of the Educational Testing Service of
Princeton, N.J., and Verizon Foundation, which administers and funds the program.
Verizon Foundation supports a variety of programs that focus on improving basic and
computer literacy, bridging the digital divide, enriching communities through technology
and creating a skilled work force. The foundation promotes partnerships in technology
with organizations serving the needs of diverse communities, people with disabilities, and
the economically and socially disadvantaged. The foundation also supports Verizon
Volunteers, an incentive program that encourages Verizon employees to volunteer in
their communities and provides matching gifts to nonprofit organizations. For more
information on the foundation, visit href="http://www.verizon.com/foundation">www.verizon.com/foundation on the
Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications
services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications
in the United States, with 112 million access line equivalents and 27 million wireless customers.
Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. A Fortune 10 company with
approximately 260,000 employees and more than $65 billion in annual revenues, Verizon's global
presence extends to 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more
information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.