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Teachers awarded over $6K in grants

Posted Friday, July 24, 2020 —


On June 15 and 16, Geneva City School District elementary teachers were awarded grants totaling $6,313.96 from The Becky Addona TLC Grant Foundation. The grant program was created in 2018 in honor of retired Geneva teacher Becky Addona, who passed away in 2017.


The grant calls for innovative and creative proposals incorporating “many varied and unusual ways” to teach. The parameters closely mirror Becky’s own teaching philosophy that every child should be able to learn and participate at their level, much like the personalized learning approach that the Geneva City School District has embraced.


The Addona family created and coordinates the grant fund, which was made possible through generous donations from private donors, community businesses and from the Becky Addona TLC 5K Run/Walk. While the second annual Becky Addona TLC 5K Run/Walk had to be cancelled this year, they hope to be able run this race next year and fund grants for many years to come. Since 2018, over $12,000 has been awarded in grant funding at the elementary level. Becky Addona spent the bulk of her teaching career in Geneva elementary schools. While the grant was initially open only to Geneva City School District elementary school teachers, this year teachers and staff from HeadStart/UPK, elementary, middle and high school were eligible to apply.


“We are fortunate to have the generosity of the Becky Addona TLC grant awarded for three project proposals at West Street School. As a passionate educator, Becky believed in providing opportunities for all children to be engaged in inquiry based learning. These grants will support our PK-1st grade early childhood learning center. Funds will provide Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM) material while enhancing programming for hands on learning. Thank you to the Addona family for supporting early childhood education in honor and memoriam of Becky Addona.” Karissa Schutt, Head Start Pre-K Director


We want to keep the money in Geneva,” explained Becky’s husband, Don Addona. “Becky was very dedicated to her students and helping teachers to learn new techniques to help their students be more creative.”


Winners of the grants this year are: Enrichment Teacher Paula Breese, Social Worker Toby Kayser, Psychologist Devin Bement, Education and Disabilities Coordinator HeadStart/UPK Kendra Winkleblack-Kirk, Speech Language Pathologist Kristin Moody, Dual Language Spanish Teacher Danielle Tuttle, S.T.E.A.M. Teacher Vinny Barry, and Special Education Teachers Kate Mager, Megan Bailey and Katie Prairie.


Ms. Breese was awarded $858.75 to purchase interactive STEM coding robots and STEAM Parks by Lego. Ms. Kayser and Ms. Bement were awarded $1000 to purchase Zones of Regulation SEL Curriculum visuals and weighted lap pads/wraps. Mrs. Winkleblack-Kirk was awarded $1000 to acquire technology and training to continue the PRIDE program at HeadStart/UPK. Ms. Moody was awarded $948.24 to purchase an iPad Pro to help with speech therapy. Ms. Tuttle was awarded $641.25 to purchase two Breakout EDU Classroom bundles as well as google cardboard to take students on virtual field trips. Mr. Barry was awarded $865.72 to purchase materials to improve morning video announcements as well as STEAM items such as Little Bits, circuitry kits and Emido building blocks. Ms. Mager, Ms. Bailey and Ms. Prairie were awarded $1000 to create a drama club for students. Each of these grants will help students think outside the box, engage students in the learning process and support critical thinking and problem solving skills.


To learn more about the Becky Addona TLC 5K Run/Walk or the grant process, please visit the website at


Don Addona, a retired dentist, still lives in Geneva, NY; Lauren Addona Romero is an elementary school music teacher in Bloomington, Ill.; Kristin Addona Pontes is a physical therapist with Finger Lakes Health in Penn Yan, NY.; and Mark Addona is a professor at the Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, GA.