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Waco Education Foundation awards $153,902 in innovative grants

2024-2025 Grant Funding Cycle


The Waco Education Foundation and its SurPRIZE Patrol recently visited 15 Waco ISD campuses.  The group surprised 49 teachers with the exciting news their 37 grant applications were approved for funding for the 2024-2025 school year. This year, the foundation is awarding $153,902 back to the district, bringing the total amount of grants funded over the past decade and a half to more than $2.3 million.


District teachers and staff had the opportunity to apply for funding through the foundation’s Innovative Grants program at the beginning of December. The program annually awards approximately $100,000 in grant funding in the four focus areas of early childhood development, enhanced programming for advanced students, extended education for staff, and emphasis on student performance.


This year’s grant projects span a wide array of topics and areas from STEM and sign language clubs, performing and visual arts, to hands-on 3D printing, and an augmented reality sandbox in a science classroom.


A list of grant recipients can be found below, and photos are available at the following link:


2024-2025 Innovative Grants Photo Albums


Hayley Ballesteros

Provident Heights Elementary

“SySTEM Upgrade: Coding Kinders for Critical Thinking”


Named in honor of: McCreary, Veselka, Bragg and Allen, P.C.


Hayley Ballesteros

Provident Heights Elementary

 “Little Minds BIG Expectations”


Named in honor of: Fabled Bookshop and Café


Jessica Bancale

Crestview Elementary

“Sensory Garden”


Named in honor of: Educators Credit Union


Victor Boswell, Spencer Childers & Jeremiah Cabrera

G.W. Carver Middle School

“P.A.W. (Providing A Way!)”


Named in honor of: Allen Samuels Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram Fiat


Nicole Box

Provident Heights Elementary

“Imagination Stations: Combining Fairy Tales and STEM”


Named in honor of: First Financial Group of America


Leslie Cannon & Jacob Garcia

Tennyson Middle School

“Microphones and Mixers”


Named in honor of: Sheehy, Lovelace & Mayfield, P.C.


Larry Carpenter

Waco High School

“Do You Marimba? (In the style of Earth, Wind, & Fire’s “September”)”


Named in honor of: H & B Packing Co., Inc.


Kim Carroll

Cedar Ridge Elementary

“Hank Zipzer’s Talents”


Named in honor of: Fabled Bookshop & Café


Amy Cheatham

Mountainview Elementary

“Good Morning, Mountainview”


Named in honor of: First National Bank of Central Texas


Brittany Clark & Mary Collins

Lake Air Montessori

“American Sign Language (ASL) Club”


Named in honor of: The Prince Family


Emily DeRosier & Kendra Saladiner

Kendrick Elementary



Named in honor of: Keurig Dr Pepper


Debbie Gaines & Debby DeGraff

Bell’s Hill Elementary

“Garden Walk”


Named in honor of: Fabled Bookshop & Café


David Gerada

University High School

“Making a Melodious Mariachi”


Named in honor of: Central National Bank


Kelsey Glass

J.H. Hines Elementary

“Makerspace Studio”


Named in honor of: Community Bank & Trust


Jennifer Hanson

University High School

“Wireframe Explorations of Transformations, Area, and Volume Studies”


Named in honor of: Carter BloodCare


Bonnie Holmstrom

Waco High School

“Paint Like the Masters”


Named in honor of: O’Connell Robertson


Lisa Hughes

Tennyson Middle School

“Texans Caring for Texas”


Named in honor of: H-E-B


Erin Lange

Cedar Ridge Elementary

“Lead by Example”



Austin Lemmons

Waco High School

“Help the LSO Embrace the Case”


Named in honor of: H-E-B


Rianna Lewis & Matt Rambo

GWAHCA (Greater Waco Advanced Health Care Academy)

“Gimme A Lift!”


Named in honor of: Ascension Providence


Ryan McCrady

Lake Air Montessori

“3D for Everyone!”



Diane McDaniel

Curriculum & Instruction Department - Libraries

“The Newest Trick in the Book”



Wendy Morrow

Hillcrest PDS

“Snap Circuits and Robotics



Wendy Morrow & Amanda Marshall

Hillcrest PDS

“Farming for the Future”



Mandy Moss & Martin Schwinger

Waco High School

“Print on Demand”


Named in honor of: Waco High School Class of 1958


Arelena Nixon

Tennyson Middle School

“Graphical Skies: Integrating Coding and Drones into STEM Education”


Named in honor of: CORE Construction


Nelly Perez & Cathy Montemayor

Provident Heights Elementary

“Empowering Young Minds through STEM & 3D Printing”


Named in honor of: Sally & Johnny Bledsoe


Jalicia Pyburn

South Waco Elementary

“Sensory Pathways: Enhancing Learning Through Sensory Grant”


Named in honor of: Lochridge-Priest


Sherry Prather

Tennyson Middle School

“Transformative Learning through Augmented Reality: Igniting Curiosity Across Disciplines ”


Named in honor of: TFNB Your Bank for Life


Kevin Rivera & Paula Hoover

Hillcrest PDS

“Power Up the Arts!”


Named in honor of: Lowe’s of Waco


Heather Russell, Shana McGowan & Janice Carroll

J.H. Hines Elementary

“Assistive Technology-Scan Reader Pens”


Named in honor of: Nemmer Electric


Brenda Schaefer

Bell’s Hill Elementary

“Learning in a Whole New Light”


Named in honor of: Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers


Adrian Sigler

Lake Air Montessori

“Into the Natural World, Into the Universe!”


Named in honor of: Waco Motorsports


Haley Slaughter

South Waco Elementary

“Reading Everywhere”


Named in honor of: Bird Kultgen Ford


Elizabeth Updegrove

Hillcrest PDS / Special Education

“Speak Up!”


Named in honor of: Cargill


Edward Vermeulen-Wise & Ashley-Elizabeth Vermeulen Wise

Waco High School

“Design Lab Expansion”


Named in honor of: Rogers-O’Brien Construction Company


Jennifer Zane

Cedar Ridge Elementary

“Fired Up for Fractions!”


Named in honor of: Sturdisteel