WACO, Texas — Thirteen teachers at La Vega Independent School District were in for quite the surprise on Tuesday, as nearly $50,000 in grants were presented to them to improve the district. 

The sounds of lockers slamming and banter from students were replaced by a band and people who were elated about the grants.

"We feel like it is important to help the school districts," Jim Lambert, La Vega Pirates Education Foundation president, said. "We know that some of the funding is a problem for some of these school districts and it is very important for the foundation to help with that. That's why we're here today," 

Teachers from La Vega Elementary, Primary Phil Bancale Campus, Intermediate H.P. Miles Campus and Junior High George Dixon Campus were presented with the grants.

The La Vega Pirates Education Foundation marched down the halls of La Vega ISD campuses, granting a total of $48,167 to 13 teachers.

Teachers said they can improve the education students receive with these grants. 

"It means quite a lot,” La Vega ISD teacher Lee Kuhl said. “This is my third grant, and it expands on the current program I have. It has to do with expanding science just beyond a high school experience and giving them a college experience on a high school level."

The foundation said its mission is to generate and distribute resources to support creative and innovative programs that will enhance the quality of educational programs provided to students. 

"We do two book fairs every year on campus to give our kids greater access to owning their own books,” La Vega ISD teacher Casey Summey said. “This grant is to fulfill the wish list of kids who want a book and can't afford one."

Dr. Charlotte Carlisle and Tia Barcelona said they plan to use the money for SAT and ACT mini courses for students.

"So that we can have the training and the support materials that kids need to do better, so they can go off to Division I colleges and be prepared to be successful," Carlisle said.

Since 2012, the La Vega Pirates Education Foundation has given $301,924 in awards and grants to La Vega ISD.

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