With a bit of fanfare and a lot of cheers, volunteers with the Grove Education Foundation for Excellence awarded more than $125,000 to Grove Public School educators.

In the revel party, on Thursday, Dec. 6, in the Grove High School Performing Arts Theatre, educators and administrators from all four campuses found piles of items purchased for their grant requests.

In all a total of $125,716.35 in grants were funded by the educational foundation.

The grant requests include 19 smart televisions, a $6,000 kiln for the lower elementary, and a full assortment of tools for the new high school stagecraft class.

During the ceremony, GEFFE Director Kristi Wallace announced the three Shining Star nominations for this year's grant cycle: Jeffrey Haynes, Grove High School; Michelle Kirkendall, Grove Lower Elementary, and Margaret Burch, Grove Lower Elementary and Grove Early Childhood Center.

GEFFE volunteers will honor the three during the annual gala, set for Saturday, April 6, in Grove.

Haynes was honored for his two grants, both which benefit the emerging performing arts program at the high school.

He received a grant to provide tools for the new stagecraft class - which will build the sets, and for the rights/music for this school year's production. 

Kirkendall received a grant for a variety of educational toys and devices to use in special need classes.

Burch's grant included the kiln for the lower elementary and an assortment of art supplies for the lower elementary and ECC.

"Our three nominations for Shining Star were picked for different reasons," Wallace said. "Kirkendall's grant was for special need children. If one of these tools provides a different path for learning, I'm all about it."

For Haynes, Wallace said GEFFE officials wanted to help encourage the new performing arts program. She joked its the first time GEFFE has funded the purchase of tools - including ladders, drills and a welder.

She said the stagecraft class is unique, because it opens the door for more students to take part in the program, as well as teaches life skills.

"This way all kids can be involved," Wallace said. "If they don't want to be on stage, they can help in the back of the house, which is just as important."

Wallace said Burch's grant enhances the art program for the youngest students in Grove.

She said GEFFE officials funded Burch's grant, because they believe art, as a subject is "closely tied to the academic success" for students.

Wallace said Burch's ideas, which include introducing lower elementary students to different art theories, brings a new perspective to the existing program.

Haynes called GEFFE's gift for the performing arts program "phenomenal."  

"This will open up so many doors," Haynes said. "This is just incredible."

Burch said she is excited to receive the art supplies provided by GEFFE.

A professional artist and educator, she said the supplies will provide an assortment of new possibilities for her students.

Grants at a glance

In all, GEFFE officials awarded 52 grants totaling $125,716.35 which included:

19 Smart TV's

Art supplies

Tools for the stagecraft class

Funding for Beauty and Beast rights/music

Owl pellets

Instruments for elementary music class

Health curriculum


Chrome Books

STEAM supplies

Science equipment

An assortment of "old fashioned" books for literature classes.