Safety pays, in a classroom makeover

First Posted: 4/23/2009

When Amanda Sechrist applied for the Got 2B Safe grant, she hoped to be one of the second place winners, receiving $500 for classroom supplies.
When the special needs teacher at B.H. Tharrington Primary School received the phone call over spring break informing her that she was one of five grand prize winners in the country at first she thought it was a joke.
I am so excited, she said.
The Got 2B Safe grant is a partnership with the organization, Honeywell and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. It provides a $10,000 classroom makeover for the grand prize winners. An interior designer will come in and assess the needs of the classroom before taking it over during the summer to make the transformation.
To get this is just really good. Im so excited for the children, said Sechrist. I hope to make this a collaborative effort with the occupational therapist, the physical therapist and the speech therapist to create an inviting multi-handicapped classroom.
In order to apply for the grant, Sechrist had to create a lesson plan using four safety rules. She decided to create Got 2B Safetyville, a village made from refrigerator boxes which the children could decorate. Within the village she would have different members of the community come in to teach the students about the importance of safety. They would read stories and talk about issues that face children of that age to prepare them to be safe in the world around them.
Its so great of them to do this grant. It can keep children safe and support the teacher, she said. The whole school systems been excited.
In addition to the makeover, the program will fly Sechrist and Principal Lydia Lovell to Washington, D.C. for a Congressional breakfast and the Hope Awards.
This is Sechrists first year as a special needs teacher and her first year with the Mount Airy City school system, but she has been teaching for seven years. This is the ninth grant she has received.
This is definitely something I want to stick with for a little while. Im just so attached to the students. They come in with these great attitudes, she said of teaching special needs children.
Contact Morgan Wall at [email protected] or 719-1929.

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