Wiggle cushions, fun games to help learn math and a glimpse of real history with trips to museums are just a sample of the school projects from Pauls Valley and Whitebead teachers getting an extra boost.

Smiles from those teachers were the norm as members of the Pauls Valley Foundation for Academic Excellence came into their classrooms to give them the surprise good news that they're proposed projects are being funded.

It came just days ago as members of the foundation's selection committee went to each school to hand out grant certificates, which means teachers were finding out which projects were getting funded for the year.

“This is my third year on the committee,” said Kahn Nirschl, this year's chairperson for the group.

“It's almost like Christmas in a way to see their reactions when we hand out the grant certificates.”

Along with the surprise factor in giving the news, Nirschl says a great part of it all is to see what kind of projects are envisioned by PV and Whitebead teachers.

“It's kind of exciting to see all the creativity with these projects and passion from the teachers,” he said.

“There is such a diverse group of projects from every category ranging from Pre-K all the way up through 12th grade.

“They're all outstanding in their own way. You got to remember these projects are not for pencils and paper and things like that. This is about enrichment and what this brings to the classroom that's out of the ordinary.”

This year nearly $18,000 in funding was awarded from the foundation for 35 grants with about double that number of projects submitted.

That's why Nirschl says it's his hope the foundation's endowment can grow even more over time, which would allow for more teacher projects to be funded each year.

“My hope and dream is to be able to fund all the projects someday,” he said.

“Along with the grants and about $4,500 in scholarships a big part of our push is to also fund our endowment.

“The more money we have in that endowment the more projects we can fund each year.”

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