Golden Acorn Classroom Mini Grants Awarded To Berrien County Teachers

Eighteen teachers are heading back to their classrooms knowing Berrien Community Foundation is helping fund their special projects through Golden Acorn Classroom Mini Grants.

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BCF Program Officer Chris Hurdle presents a Golden Acorn Classroom Mini Grant to Countryside Academy FARE class instructor Kathy Hollacher.

Adding a new skeleton to the classroom, athletic equipment for recess and maple syrup tree-tapping kits are just a few of the projects and supplies teachers sought funding for in the latest cycle of the Golden Acorn Classroom Mini Grants at Berrien Community Foundation. This grant opportunity — which is offered twice per year — awards up to $500 to teachers across Berrien County to help fund special projects in their classrooms.

Countryside Academy FARE class instructor Kathy Hollacher, who teaches classes on food and nutrition, plans to teach her students a “sweet lesson” with the help of a BCF Classroom Mini Grant.

“My plan is for us to tap the maple trees in front of the school and teach students about how maple syrup is made and why trees give us sap,” Hollacher said. “I really appreciate receiving this grant because it gives me an opportunity to expand what I already teach on.”

Tapping maple trees is a first for Hollacher and her students, who will help install spiles into the trees, cook the sap, and make delicious syrup and candy in the spring.

“Teachers can be so creative and make learning engaging for our students,” said Berrien Community Foundation President Lisa Cripps-Downey. “Through the Golden Acorn Classroom Mini Grants, we give teachers a hand in affording fun, educational projects for their students without them having to dig into their own pockets.”

Other winners of a Golden Acorn Classroom Mini Grant are:

  • Shana Bohle,  North Elementary School – Computer Bags
  • Lisa Callahan, Hollywood Elementary School – Library Collection for Reading Workshop
  • Andrea Countess, Bridgman High School – Choice Reading Program
  • Julie Cripe, Coloma Middle School – Math and ELA Enrichment Resources
  • Amy Deloria, Hollywood Elementary School – SNAIL (Science Nature And Integrated Literacy) Studies
  • Holly DuthlerHollywood Elementary School – The Birdy Friend Project
  • Elizabeth GregorichRoosevelt Elementary School – Get Your Sensory On!
  • Paula Hazzard-ReedHollywood Elementary School – SEL Supplies
  • Kathy Hollacher, Countryside Academy – Sweet Spring
  • Kaitlin HooperLakeshore Middle School – ELA 7 Class Library
  • Megan KohlerMerritt Elementary School – Sports for Kids
  • Charli MorayBuchanan High School – Continuing Literacy in a Second Language
  • Eric Munyon, Buchanan High School – FVR Library
  • Wendy SkinnerBrandywine Elementary School – STEM
  • Jennifer Suarez-Marquez, E.P. Clarke Elementary School, Classroom Library Update
  • Tori ThomasBuchanan High School – AP Statistics Curriculum Enhancement
  • Kathryn Woodard, Lakeshore High School – Graphic Calculators
  • Emily Zablocki-Kohler, Brandywine Middle/High School – We’ve Got The Bones!

Applications for the next round of Golden Acorn Classroom Mini Grants are due February 15, 2023. For more information, visit