Eight teachers receive 2023 Leo Seal Teacher Grants

Teachers from across the state met at Hancock Whitney in Gulfport for the 2023 Leo W. Seal Teacher Grant Awards.

Eight of South Mississippi’s most accomplished and creative teachers earned 2023 Leo W. Seal Innovative Teacher grants to pay for original teaching projects designed to enrich students’ education with hands-on learning opportunities.

Brandy Kopszywa from D’Iberville High School started Project Warrior Coffee which allows special needs high school students to manage a cart serving beverages and baked goods to students and school staff. Through this project, they learn key business concepts such as teamwork, customer service, money management, and safe food service. “Our students are very hands-on learners. The traditional pencil and paper is not the most effective way for my students to learn. Our students do not get traditional diplomas. They are on alternative diplomas. We’re looking for ways to give them good skills to use out in the community, skills that employers are looking for.”

Another recipient of the grant is Pass Christian music teacher Cherynne Wright, who uses the West African djembe drum that helps teach pre-kindergarten through fifth grade students’ rhyme and repeat patterns that support language arts and mathematics learning. “I have a passion for music. I have a passion for kids and the arts are just not something that’s extremely funded. So, when I saw the opportunity, I knew this was an opportunity for me to have instruments in our classroom.”

Funded by Hancock Whitney, each Leo Seal Grant recipient received up to $2,000 towards their projects and a plaque for recognition. Senior Communications Officer Paul Maxwell said, “All teachers across the state or really across the country work so hard to try to help their students succeed. We are very proud and very honored to be part of a process that helps their students grow and prepare for strong futures, which in turn help the communities in which they live.”

A complete list of the 2023 Leo Seal Teacher award recipients can be found here.

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