University of South Alabama Celebrates Extra Yard for Teachers Week

Posted on September 20, 2022 by Amber Day
Amber Day

Southpaw on the football stadium field holing up the J sign for jaguars. data-lightbox='featured'

The University of South Alabama College of Education and Professional Studies and the South Alabama Athletics partnered with the College Football Playoff Foundation to celebrate teachers in Mobile and Baldwin counties for Extra Yard for Teachers Week (Sept. 16-24, 2022).

“Extra Yard for Teachers Week allows us to bring recognition to our area teachers and to say ‘thank you’ for all they do daily to make an impact on their students and communities,” said Dr. John Kovaleski, interim dean of the USA College of Education and Professional Studies.

To show appreciation, the USA Classroom Project Contest provided teachers with an opportunity to win gift cards to make a direct impact on student learning. The College of Education and Professional Studies and the College Football Playoff Foundation provided one $500 gift card and two $250 gift cards to the teachers who submitted the best project ideas for classroom enrichment. The College Football Playoff Foundation surprised South this year and gave an additional $100 and $1,000 Donors Choose gift cards for the Classroom Project Contest. More than 130 educators submitted project proposals.

The top individual winner, Hunter Bates, was surprised at Baldwin County High School on Tuesday, September 20 with a special visit from the University of South Alabama. Paige Vitulli, a department chair from the USA College of Education and Professional Studies and NCAA faculty representative for South, presented $500 to Bates, who was surrounded by his students, South cheerleaders and the Miss Pawla mascot to celebrate the award. 

The other winners were honored Sept. 24, 2022 at the Jags vs. La Tech football game at Hancock Whitney Stadium. The teachers were introduced during the first break in the second quarter at the Terrace.

All local educators received discount tickets ($5 each) to attend the football game. South Alabama Athletics also hosted a door prize drawing at the football game and awarded $200 each to 30 teachers to fulfill Amazon wishlists for classroom instruction enhancement projects. 

Bates' project proposal summary for "The Pond Restoration Project" is below:

“Students will work hands-on with an ecosystem, restoring it to a thriving natural state. The Pond Restoration Project came about during our trips to the Baldwin County High School Arboretum. The pond had several issues, including vegetation overgrowth, water level and debris. This is an opportunity to take topics that we discuss daily in class and use those subjects as a framework to enhance the learning experience. The Pond Restoration Project focuses on several topics: food webs, decomposition, energy exchange, recycling, water quality and carbon cycles. The students work to remove litter and debris from the pond, lay new pipes to restore water flow and introduce native species to the pond. Students will collect data on water level, ph, decomposition rate, life stages and species identification.”

USA Classroom Project Contest winners:

$1,000 WINNER:
Barton Academy for Advanced World Studies 
Nine entries from teachers
Principal, Dr. Amanda Jones

$500 WINNER:
Hunter Bates, Baldwin County High School
Project Name: The Pond Restoration Project

Melisa Motes, Barton Academy for Advanced World Studies
Project Name: From Agricultural Revolution to Deep Space Food
Miranda Manley, Clark-Shaw Magnet School
Project Name: Making History Come Alive through “Captured: An American Prisoner of War in North Vietnam” (Jeremiah Denton Story)

Kris Cieutat, Williamson High School
Project Name: Jackets for Chefs

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