Fancy Gap teacher receives $3,300 grant

By Jessica Johnson

May 13, 2014

Fancy Gap Elementary School Fifth Grade Math and Science Teacher Jessica Cochran was surprised May 5 with good news: Cochran was one of eight teachers in Virginia chosen to receive CenturyLink Clarke M. Williams Foundation’s Teachers and Technology Grant.

A team from CenturyLink as well as Fancy Gap Elementary School Principal Dr. Jeanne Edwards surprised Cochran with the good news, along with a bouquet of flowers, a bunch of balloons, and a giant check, written for $3,300, which will be used to purchase iPad minis and an Apple TV for students to use with both math and language arts programs.

“You guys are so lucky to have her as your teacher,” CenturyLink Market Development Manager Simone Alley told Cochran’s students after they gave the good news. “She completely rocks, we can tell.”

Cochran said she was “delighted” to receive the good news, and excited for her students to incorporate modern technology with their studies.

“Just seeing how great the students are with technology made me want to apply for this. I am trying to bring the outside world to them, because when they come to school they are stuck in the past, without new technology to use,” Cochran shared.

Fancy Gap Elementary School Principal Dr. Jeanne Edwards said she was proud of how much Cochran had accomplished in the six years she has been teaching, including an award for Teacher of the Year.

“She is one of those teachers you always say you wish your child had. Every kid deserves to have Ms. Cochran as a teacher; she is just amazing and we are so proud of her,” Edwards said.

Cochran said she graduated from Radford University, and decided to pursue teaching due to her love for kids. She said she enjoys getting to watch them grow each day and is motivated by the knowledge they she had a positive impact on their lives.

With over 100 teachers applying for the grant money, Alley said the choice was difficult, but Cochran’s application stood out.

“We asked the teachers to show how they would innovatively use technology in their classroom, and Cochran did a great job with the application. She was really articulate in showing how she would use technology to assist her students,” Alley said. “It is exciting to see a teacher so passionate about preparing her students for their future —as she called it, a ’21st century, 24/7/365 connected, global economy they are a part of.’”

CenturyLink issued a total of $30,000 in grants, including grants that went to eight teachers in Virginia. More than 100 teachers applied for the grants, with eight winners selected by a review committee comprised of community leaders and a CenturyLink representative. The winning teachers’ schools each receive a grant to be used by the teachers to purchase technology to benefit students in the classroom.

The CenturyLink Clarke M. Williams Foundation’s Teachers and Technology grant program has been offered since 2008, awarding grants to schools in CenturyLink’s local service areas on behalf of teachers who have developed specific plans to implement technology in their classroom.

Reach Jessica Johnson at 336-719-1933 and on Twitter @MountAiryJess.