Jenice Riley Memorial Scholarship winners recognized

From left, Jenice Riley Scholarship winners Della White, Carly Turner, Lisa Williams and Tiffany Rushing with AHF Chair Jimmy McLemore, right, and Minda Riley, Jenice’s sister, third from right.

Alabama Humanities Foundation recognized four teachers from across the state with the Jenice Riley Memorial Scholarship, given to teachers in support of projects in history and civics in their classroom or school.

Named in memory of the late daughter of former Gov. Bob and Patsy Riley, winners are chosen based on their projects that share the same commitment Riley had as a teacher to enhance learning for students.

Winners were: Carly Nelson of Demopolis Middle School, Marengo County; Tiffany Rushing of Knight Enloe Elementary, Randolph County; Della White of Chickasaw High School, Mobile County; and Lisa Williams of Brownwood Elementary School, Jackson County. They were recognized with a plaque and a check for $1,000 each at The Alabama Colloquium, the annual awards event for AHF.

In addition to the scholarship award, in a surprise announcement, Kamau Bell, Emmy Award-winning host of CNN’s United Shades of America, pledged $1,000 to the teachers, noting their impact on students’ lives. Bell was inducted to the inaugural class of Alabama Humanities Fellows at the event.

“We are always proud of our teachers and their amazing projects to enhance learning across our state,” said AHF Executive Director Armand DeKeyser. “We are especially proud this year that the key figures in the Colloquium chose to honor our teachers through their words and gestures of giving.”

This year’s group of teachers did not disappoint in their projects designed to do more for their students.

Winning projects were:

Lisa Williams, Where Do You Live? A “geography-focused program to help children understand the physical as well as the cultural characteristics of the world. It provides the knowledge and skills to better understand themselves, their relationship to earth and their interdependence with other people in the world. Thus, building cultural awareness.”

Della White, The Bluford Series To motivate reluctant readers to read via GoReaders, addressing topics that interest them. The Bluford Series GoReader is a personal, user-friendly audiobook player preloaded with five novels. “With it, my striving readers can work independently, experiencing the excitement of Bluford High, just like their peers. While listening to the audiobooks, students can read along side-by-side with the printed books … Together, the print books and audio support are a powerful combination that can scaffold students’ growing reading skills.”

Tiffany Rushing, The Escape Room With the Alabama Bicentennial as her inspiration to instill a love of history in her students, she plans to incorporate the game, The Escape Room, in her Social Studies classroom. The classroom version uses curriculum standards as clues. When the student answers the clue correctly, a lock opens. When the game is over, the students should have learned the curriculum subject matter. She also plans to “unlock local history” through field trips.

Carly Nelson, Google Expeditions Creating “lifelong history learners and civically involved citizens” by using virtual reality headsets and a teacher tablet to enhance the Google Expeditions App. “Students will have the ability to travel the world without ever leaving the classroom.”