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Four Pueblo Gardens teachers get sweet surprise

Another TUSD school enjoyed a teacher surprise on Tuesday, September 29, 2015. Four teachers at Pueblo Gardens K-8 each received grants totaling just under $4,500 from Sonic Drive-Ins through a program called "Limeades for Learning," which is held in conjunction with Though the program is nationwide, the proceeds for the grants given to Tucson-area teachers are funded locally through a portion of the sales of drinks at area Sonics. Grants will support 17 classroom projects in TUSD to provide resources for mathematics, literature, technology, and music. The Limeade for Learning campaign is part of the company's efforts to support to local teachers in the community and enhance learning for our children

The four Pueblo Gardens winning teachers are Shelby Matsko, Kathryn Bermudez, Alva Monreal and Patricia Perez. Ms. Matsko received $1569.14 for a program called "Action with iLearn." The request included four iPads, wireless keyboards,and headphones in order to record, edit and produce plays, as well as for reading comprehension.

Mrs. Bermudez was funded $871.16 for her project, "Outdoor Science." The grant covers 20 percent of the cost for the total transportation for her class to Long Beach, Calif., where students will board a boat to the Catalina Island Marine Institute. At the institute, the students will be guided through the island terrestrial biology, marine biology, labs and field activities designed to stimulate the mind.

Mrs. Monreal received grants totaling $1,479.84 for two programs. The first was "Getting the Wiggles Out," a program which provides "Hokki" stools for students so that they can expel extra energy in order to focus better while reading. The second was "Music to My Ears," which provides recorders and Kindle tablets for students so that they can learn how to play the instrument.

Ms. Perez received $545.31 for her program, "Fun with STEM," which will provide new STEM resources at the science station in her classroom. The resources will be the focal point of exploration time, where students will be able to experiment and test ideas freely so that they gain a depth of knowledge and allow for critical thinking.

The teachers expressed joy and disbelief as each announcement was made.

"It's crazy," remarked Ms. Matsko, "I created the grant over the summer, and I just honestly never thought that I would get it because the amount of money that it was. I'm just very excited and grateful."

Mrs. Monreal agreed. "I'm super excited for my kids to be able to have these resources in my classroom."

Stuart Carey Jr., the Director of Operations for area Sonics, was stunned that all four teachers awarded grants came from the same school.

"Clearly there are a lot of Sonic fans here on the south side of Tucson, because they all got online and chose these projects specifically to be rewarded," he said. "They were the top four vote-getting grant requests that we had for this program."