Livingston Parish teachers in the running for $1,000 grant from Valluzzo Companies

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(The Livingston Parish News) – Seven Livingston Parish teachers are in the running for a $1,000 prize.

Locally owned and operated Valluzzo Companies recently announced the finalists for its Teacher of Impact program, which will award a $1,000 grant to the top vote-getting teacher in the three-parish area of Livingston, Tangipahoa, and West Feliciana.

“This year has been incredibly difficult on our entire community and our students and teachers have made major adjustments to their educational processes,” the company said in a statement.

“Valluzzo Companies would like to celebrate these phenomenal efforts and are offering a $1,000 grant for technology to [an]… area teacher to support their classroom. They will also receive a McDonald’s gift basket to share with students.”

Livingston Parish had seven of the 10 finalists, with teachers Erin Carraway, Melissa Carroll, Joni Lexia, Teddi Page, Jill Rabalais, Stephanie Swindle, and Kathleen Thornton all being nominated.

To vote, visit the “Valluzzo Companies, LLC” Facebook page or click the following link: https://www.facebook.com/ValluzzoCompanies/.

From there, find the photo gallery for teachers in Livingston, Tangipahoa, and West Feliciana parishes and click the “like” button on your teacher’s photo.

The individual with the most “likes” when voting ends will win a $1,000 technology grant for technology in their classroom.

Voting will conclude at 9 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 22.

Below are the write-ups that were submitted for the Livingston Parish teachers.

Erin Caraway, Live Oak area schools

“Erin’s enthusiasm is infectious; she loves sharing her love of music with students. During the shutdown of schools, Erin created a project allowing students to express themselves. She synced the recordings of students in a video collage in 4-part harmony. Erin goes above and beyond what is expected of her. This award would allow her to continue using technology to create exciting musical experiences for her very talented students.”

Joni Lexia, Springfield Elementary

“Mrs. Joni has been a dedicated teacher at Springfield Elementary School for over 15 years!

“She is caring, compassionate, and concerned not only with meeting her students’ educational needs but for the family unit as a whole. She is as sweet and humble as they come, a great part of our team!”

Kathleen Thornton, Denham Springs High

“Ms. Thornton is the single most helpful person that I know. She puts in far more effort and time than is required by her job, she works to ensure all of her students achieve their maximum potential.

“She is always attentive to student needs and what they need to learn. She teaches four different courses but acts like each one is of her highest priority. She is, by far, the most intelligent and experienced teacher I have ever had the privilege of being taught by.”

Melissa Carroll, Denham Springs High

“Melissa is an amazing educator. She works tirelessly to get her students ready for success in their college endeavors. Melissa works to incorporate technology in her classroom daily, but often finds resources are a limiting factor.

“She works so hard making sure that she is prepared. Past students have commented how much they learned in her class and how prepared they were for that subject in college.”

Teddi Page, Denham Springs High

“As the youngest teacher at her school and the difficulties of dealing with COVID during her first year of teaching, Teddi has overcome these challenges tremendously and has a genuine love and concern for her students’ education.

“She is also currently enrolled in the Holmes program at LSU to obtain her Masters in secondary education.”

Jill Rabalais, Denham Springs High

“Jill goes above and beyond to pay for amazing art supplies out of her own pocket, she always lets us help her with big creative projects, she is encouraging and helps a lot of students with their problems. She’s always positive and makes everyone’s day brighter and she’s a great teacher who deserves this recognition.”

Stephanie Swindle, Denham Springs Elementary

“She has rolled with the punches ever since she started teaching and loves every second of it. Despite losing her classroom in the 2016 flood, she worked to pick up the pieces and create an amazing learning experience for her students. She redefined how she taught students, adding lap desks and non-traditional learning stations for her students in a way that they can relate to. She spends a lot of her time just thinking about how she can improve her work and help her students reach their goals.”

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