Curtis Brown Jr., a fourth-and-fifth-grade teacher at Sonoran Science Academy-Peoria, was one of 200 educators in Arizona to win a $5,000 grant from the Fiesta Bowl Charities Wishes for Teachers Program.
The Sonoran Science Academy has several talented performers in a variety of different art forms. The grant money, Brown said, will go toward a public address system able to broadcast sound at a better frequency.
Before, staff had to borrow a sound system from a church group using the school on Sundays and access was limited. The new equipment, the staff hopes, will be state-of-the-art and mobile, to allow for performances in new locations – outside or in the cafeteria for example – and even new art styles with lavalier mics to pin onto a student’s clothing and free up their hands.
“There are so many talented kids singing, dancing, theatre, things like that. This is exciting because now everyone will be able to hear them,” Brown said.
Brown filled out an online application for the grant in early 2019 – his third attempt in as many years – and nearly forgot about it until an email surfaced in October reminding all the applicants to look out for a phone call.
He was floored with excitement upon realizing he had won, despite low odds with thousands of teachers around Arizona applying this academic year.
“It’s such a big deal for not only me but the students. I know this is going to be impactful for the whole school,” Brown said.
A press release the Fiesta Bowl Charities showed gratitude for teachers throughout the state. The money granted is just a way of saying “thank you,” in a different way.
“Teachers are so important in shaping today’s students and tomorrow’s leaders. They work tirelessly and selflessly every day, giving not only their time but often money from their own pockets,” said Mike Nealy, Fiesta Bowl Executive Director. “Wishes for Teachers supports, honors and celebrates Arizona’s teachers for their commitment to our children and donating $1 million to Arizona’s teachers, provides resources they have only wished to have in the past.”
Other grant winners from Peoria include Michael Goodhope of Cotton Boll Elementary School, CJ Miller of West Wing School, Michelle Barkley of Paseo Verde Elementary, LaNell Peck of Basis Charter School and Paige Stewart of Terramar Elementary School.