Mansfield ISD Magazine Winter 2018/2019 - Page 18

Atwood (left) did not know she was the grand prize winner before the December event. MISD SCHOOL WINS $100K FOR AGRICULTURE PROGRAM W hat would you do with $100,000? Staff members at Tarver-Rendon Elementary School are going to expand their agricultural leadership program with it. “I was completely elated and shocked and so excited for this campus and the great things we’re going to get to use this money towards,” said Shaye Atwood, agricultural science and STEM integration specialist. “We’ve been hoping and praying for this.” A campus writing committee applied for Farmers Insurance’s Dream Big Teacher Challenge in the fall. As part of the application process, educators nationwide submitted proposals explaining the impact the money would have on their community. The $100,000 will fund an outdoor learning facility, which will be used as a barn and classroom. The money will also be spent on beautification projects, upgrades to garden beds and new machinery for the garden and greenhouse. The proposal took four months to write, but staff members said it was all worth it because Tarver- Rendon Elementary School made it to the final round—the only school in Texas to do so. Out of the 15 remaining finalists, five would win the grand prize. “We are committed to teaching children about agriculture and the huge importance that it has in our everyday lives, whether it’s growing our own food or teaching children where these things come from, from the ground up,” said Norwood. “If we can teach kids and families about those sorts of things and get them excited about different jobs that are in the ag field, then we feel like we’ve done our part.” The grand prize winners were chosen through online voting, and the school worked hard from October to November to get the Mansfield ISD community to vote for its grant. A few weeks later, the school’s principal received an unexpected call. “Our Farmers agent called me and wanted to know if I wanted the bad news or the good news first,” recalled Jamie Norwood, principal of Tarver-Rendon Elementary School. “I said that I wanted the bad news. He said, ‘Well, you can’t tell anybody. We won the $100,000 grant.’” Norwood had to keep the secret from staff until the special reveal took place on Dec. 5. Representatives from Mansfield ISD and Farmers Insurance were in attendance to surprise the campus with the great news. Different grade levels have responsibilities at the school’s garden and discovery park. 15 M A NSFIELD ISD.O RG