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Staff from Morehead Wood Products and Rowan County Schools were part of the grant presentation by ISC Cares/Morehead Wood Products. From left are, front row: Jessica Elliott (THES), Katy Ingles (RCPC), Bridgett Taulbee (RES), Lindsey Smith (CES), Andrea Wallace (MES), Kim Spencer (CES), MES Principal Rhonda Banks; back row: Supt. John Maxey, plant manager Mike Knudson, CES principal Misty Litton, RES Principal Andrea Murray, Matt Stokes (CES), Shelby Halliday (CES), Amanda Mason (RCMS), RCMS Principal Jay Padula, kiln operator Charles Bell and office manager Miranda Jones.

“Just as ripples spread out when a single pebble is dropped into water, the actions of individuals can have far-reaching effects.”

Dalai Lama

The above quote speaks to a phenomenon known as the “ripple effect,” which can be seen in bodies of water as large as an ocean or smaller pools of water, such as what can be collected in a barrel.

The ripple effect denotes how the action of one person or one group can have far-reaching and even long-lasting effects, such as the actions of one local company, Morehead Wood Products, and its decision to support local teachers and their students through the presentation of grants.

For the past two years, Morehead Wood Products has been funding grants for classroom teachers through its program called ISCO Cares, a charitable giving program established by parent company Independent Stave Company. Since opening its Rowan County facility in August 2015, Morehead Wood Products has been dedicated to giving back to the community.

“Morehead Wood Products is a family company,” said Miranda Jones, office manager. “We have 115 employees, many of whom have children and family members involved with the local schools. We had heard how much teachers were spending out of their own pockets to get necessary items for their classrooms. ISCO Cares/Morehead Wood Products Classroom Wish program is letting us give back to our schools and, in turn, to the students of our community.”

ISCO Cares/Morehead Wood Products Classroom Wish program offers teachers the opportunity to apply for grants to pay for items that they could not otherwise afford for their classrooms.

This year, the program funded $18,000 in classroom wishes for teachers in both Rowan and Fleming County Schools. Fourteen teachers from Rowan County Schools’ preschool, elementary schools and middle school received over $12,000 in grants from ISCO Cares/Morehead Wood Products.

The grants were presented at a luncheon on Aug. 25, at the Morehead Wood Products facility on Cranston Road outside of Morehead. On hand to present the awards were Mike Knudson, plant manager, Charles Bell, kiln operator, and Miranda Jones, officer manager. At the luncheon, teachers had an opportunity to share with other teachers how their grant money would be used.

The 14 teachers who received grants were (from Rowan County Preschool Center) Katy Ingles; (from Clearfield Elementary) Shelby Halliday, Lindsey Smith, Matt Stokes, Kim Spencer; (from McBrayer Elementary) Danielle Grigsby, Brook Issac, Andrea Wallace; (from Rodburn Elementary) Vicki Anderson, Bridgett Taulbee; (from Tilden Hogge Elementary) Jessica Elliott; (and from Rowan County Middle School) Amanda Mason, Stacie May, Larry Slone.

(Note: Jennifer Williams had applied for the grant before her departure from Rowan County Schools. Larry Slone will take over with plans for the items purchased with the grant.)

Six of the 14 Rowan County Schools teachers have plans to purchase Chromebooks or iPads to allow their students to improve their reading and math skills while, at the same time, increase their technology skills. The Chromebooks and iPads also allow students to be more independent learners and track both their strengths and their weaknesses in their reading and math skills.

Five elementary teachers will be using their grant money to bring in more flexible seating options for their students. The seating options, which include yoga balls, wobble stools, stools of varying heights, and scoop seats, give students the opportunity to choose where they want to sit and gives students who may need to move around while learning the opportunity to do just that without disrupting the flow of learning.

The other teachers will be using their grant funds to help pay for service learning supplies and physical education equipment, including equipment that will help students learn more about monitoring their own heart rate during rest and during physical activity.

Lindsey Smith, a first-year teacher at Clearfield Elementary, offered the following thanks to the employees of Morehead Wood Products.

“First of all, thank you for all your hard work and dedication to our community. You have no idea the amount of lives you are impacting from your generous donations to Kentucky’s students. As a teacher, I am excited, thrilled, overjoyed to have a company who supports not only my students, but public education as well. With your assistance, you are helping us prepare and educate the future of Kentucky – one student at a time.”

“Speaking on behalf of the teachers of our school system, we are extremely grateful to have a company like Morehead Wood Products who takes so seriously their commitment to the students and teachers of the communities they represent,” said Supt. John Maxey. “These grants will also enable our teachers to reach so many students. The items that these grants are funding will not only have an immediate effect on our students, they will create a ripple effect – helping our students gain skills that will affect them both educationally and personally for years to come.”

He then added, “I firmly believe that the employees of Morehead Wood Products should take pride in knowing that their actions are having far-reaching effects on the students of these communities. You may be creating the parts to build barrels in this facility but your commitment to education is helping to build students.”