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$100k Grant Awarded to Beaumont Magnet Teacher for Playground Redesign

Students from Beaumont Magnet Academy (BMA) gathered this morning for what they thought was a holiday performance by the school’s theater group, but the program was cut short to surprise art teacher Cheyl Burchett with a $100,000 Dream Big Teacher Grant from Farmers Insurance for the redesign of the school’s playground.
 
Present for the ceremony were Board of Education members Patti Bounds (Chair), Gloria Deathridge (District 1) and Jennifer Owen (District 2); State legislators Richard Briggs, Roger Kane, Becky Duncan Massey, Rick Staples and Jason Zachary; Mayor Tim Burchett; City of Knoxville Special Program Manager Indya Kincannon; City Council Member Mark Campen; Great Schools Partnership Interim President Stephanie Welch; Knox County Schools Director of Innovation and School Improvement Dr. Daphne Odom; Farmers Insurance #5 NASCAR driver Kasey Kahne; and representatives from Farmers Insurance.
 
Beaumont is the only elementary arts magnet school in Knox County and was one of 15 finalists for the $100,000 grant. The 15 finalists were ranked based on the number of votes their grant idea received on the Farmers Insurance website during the month of October. Halfway through the contest, Beaumont—the only Tennessee school in the running—was in first place. While these results were exciting, it was nothing compared to actually winning the grant.
 
“The entire process has just reinforced how supported our school is in this community. I am blown away by how many people in Knoxville and Knox County help us every time we do something, and especially now with something as big as this!” said Mrs. Burchett.
 
Great Schools Partnership will act as a key partner in the project and as the fiscal agent for the funds which will be used to create several arts-themed areas on the existing BMA playground that would be available for both school and community use.
 
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