Thursday, August 09, 2001

Teacher wins for natural idea

St. Henry instructor is honored

By Lori Hayes
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        ERLANGER — A Northern Kentucky biology teacher won the state's top honors in a national teaching fellowship program that will help her turn 5 acres next to her school into a nature center.

        Lana Hays of St. Henry District High School in the Covington Diocese was selected as Kentucky's 2001 Christa McAuliffe Fellow, the state Department of Education announced Wednesday.

        She was chosen based on her proposal to design a nature center next to the school off Donaldson Road. Kentucky will receive $30,000 to pay for the project.

        “This grant is for St. Henry,” Ms. Hays said of her selection. “I wrote it for them.”

        The center, to be designed and built by students, staff, parents and community members, will include a wetland area, a series of trails and an outdoor classroom. St. Henry's students will be able to use the center for research and experiments, including a project with Miami University on sugar maple trees.

        The grant will also help pay for a set of wireless laptop computers for a mobile lab, and a digital camcorder for students to chronicle their experiments.

        The Christa McAuliffe Fellowship is a federally funded annual program that provides one grant per state to a classroom teacher for projects, research or other educational programs.

        Public and private school teachers with eight or more years of experience are eligible. States select their fellows based on teachers' proposals and can divide the grants among multiple winners. This is the third time a Northern Kentucky teacher has won.

        The fellowship program was created in 1987 in memory of Christa McAuliffe, the New Hampshire teacher who died aboard the space shuttle Challenger in January 1986.

        This is Ms. Hays' second year at St. Henry. A 28-year teaching veteran, Ms. Hays previously taught at Simon Kenton High School in Kenton County and in Fort Thomas Independent Schools.


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- Teacher wins for natural idea