Grant enriches skills for students

Emily M. Hobbs Staff Writer

November 14, 2013

Vevlyn Lowe, band director at Sampson Middle School, is excited to have college professors come in and teach her students skills that may otherwise not be taught to them. And it’s all thanks to a grant offered through Simple Gifts.

The Love of Learning grant is awarded three times a year and includes funding of up to $3,000 for the school or $1,000 for individual teachers.

The grants are awarded “for the advancement of educators and their students, in order to enable teachers to provide illuminating programs and opportunities for students in the classroom,” according to a prepared release from Simple Gifts. The goal of the program is to foster the betterment of public education by promoting learning and strengthening the skills of students. Critical thinking and problem solving are two important aspects that this program hopes to build upon.

Margaret Turlington, coordinator for the Simple Gifts Fund, said Lowe applied for the grant last spring. The grant is entitled “Professors in the Classroom” and is helping students by providing them with an experience they otherwise would likely never have.

“This grant offers lots of flexibility to benefit both the students and the educators,” said Turlington. “The grant offers students new ways of learning.” She said this is the second year that the grant has been offered.

This year the students in Lowe’s classes will be visited by three college professors for a total of five different days of the year. The professors are there with the students for the entire day, giving them much needed extra time learning new skills.

“This is an enriching opportunity for students,” said Turlington in a phone interview Thursday morning. The grant also has other additional goals such as fostering inquisitiveness, teaching skills to self learn, as well as building up skills for critical reflection.

Turlington said that this particular grant is designed to enable educators to continue to inspire their students.

Kevin Streich is an adjunct professor of clarinet at UNC-Pembroke and he also is a clarinet and saxophone instructor at the Ravenscroft School in Raleigh. He has already been to Sampson Middle thanks to the grant.

“I always get a lot out of teaching,” said Streich in an interview last Wednesday. “Teaching is a mirror for my own playing and keeps me doing well in my own playing.”He also plays with the N.C. Symphony on a regular basis. Streich is one of three professors that will be visiting with the students.

“My experiences go across the board,” he said. He has been playing for over 35 years. He has also taught at other schools in Fuquay and Cary. He plans to work with more schools in the future he said.

“The kids are nice,” he said. “They have a nice energy and attitude. This is all new to them.” Streich said that he loves having the opportunity to spend extra time helping student learn and providing them with this experience.

The next deadline for a grant in this program is Feb. 1. The majority of the funds for the grant must be spent on materials or experiences for the students. Educators are allowed to apply or reapply for a grant in the following periods but the grants are limited to two grants a year and the same grant can only be awarded three times.

For an educator to be eligible they must be a 10-month teacher, guidance counselor, or media coordinator in a Sampson County or Clinton City public school and have a minimum of two years of classroom teaching experience. They must also spend half their time in a classroom or classroom-like setting and plan on teaching the next year in Sampson County. The school principal of the educator must also have reviewed and approved the application proposal states the release.

Lowe said she wants to thank the donor that made this grant possible. She said that although the donor has expressed their wish to stay anonymous, she really appreciates what they are doing for her students.

To find out more about the available grants visit or email Margaret Turlington at

Emily M. Hobbs can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 122 or via email at