Five Hawkins teachers receive Palmer Foundation grants

Near the end of the 2020-21 school year, five Hawkins County teachers received notification they were recipients of a Palmer Foundation grant.

The Palmer Foundation is a Kingsport-based organization that aspires to improve the lives of persons with disabilities in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.

“Being part of this foundation and directly seeing the impact it has on these students is such a blessing for me,” Board Member Brenda Whitten said.

Teachers Lorri Bonner (Church Hill Middle School), Missy Ward Bray, Catie Dean (both from Church Hill Elementary School), Jeremy Hutson and Macie Riddle (both from Church Hill Middle School) received grants totaling more than $5,400 to improve their classrooms.

These teachers are now having the opportunity to implement the items purchased for their classrooms and students. Missy Ward Bray and Catie Dean, teachers at Church Hill Elementary, are seeing immediate results for their students. Bray and Dean purchased items to set up a Dedicated Sensory Area in the school.

“Our students are using these items to help regulate their emotions to best support their learning needs. While these achievements may seem insignificant to some, they are revolutionary for our students,” Bray said.

Lorri Bonner, a teacher at Church Hill Middle School purchased Stand up Desk Risers.

“There are students that have difficulty sitting and working for long periods of time. I am giving them the option to move and stand while doing their assignments,” Bonner said. “They can work while moving around, tapping their toes or whatever works for them. It makes a big difference in their attitude, behavior and academic success.”

“Organizations such as the Palmer Foundation make a huge difference in our students’ lives,” Hawkins County Director of Schools Matt Hixson said. “Without organizations such as them we would not be able to provide much needed items to improve our classrooms.”