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Keeping History Alive: K-12 Teachers Receive Funding

by Michaela Pereira '12

The Keeping History Alive program held its sixth award ceremony for history teachers of the Los Angeles County on Saturday, January 22, at Azusa Pacific University.

“Keeping History Alive is an extraordinary initiative designed to strengthen history education and make a difference for our K-12 history teachers and the enduring legacy they leave for future generations, “ said Michelle Herczog, Ph.D., consultant for history and social science in the Los Angeles County Office of Education.

The grants were awarded to 231 teachers, and the first part of the awards ceremony brought out approximately 110 K-12 teachers who filled the chairs of APU’s Darling Library Rotunda. A second awards ceremony took place on January 29. The teachers share the award with colleagues, enabling an estimated 560 teachers to apply the grants toward history education.

Funded by the Helen and Will Webster Foundation of Pasadena, about $170,000 in grants were awarded to teachers across the Los Angeles County, which will impact more than 25,000 students. Of the grants awarded, 148 went to elementary school teachers, 53 to middle school teachers, and 30 to high school teachers.

“It’s always an emotional time for me to see the rotunda filled with these teachers who cheer for each other and who feel like they've won the lottery to receive these grants,” said Tom Andrews, Ph.D., research historian in APU’s Special Collections.

Individual grants range from $250 to $850 with the average being $735. The money supports classroom resources, field trips, on campus performances, and professional development opportunities.

“It is the first time I've heard of the program and it feels great to win this award," said Teresa Kindermaan, a high school teacher from the Antelope Valley. "My kids would not be able to afford a field trip to Hearst Castle without it.”

Will Webster concluded the ceremony, saying to the teachers, “Please do not keep this program a secret. I would love to see you all spread the word.”