Tears and cheers erupted from the Navarro Intermediate School campus as a small group of visitors popped into classrooms, bringing with them loads of surprises.

The Navarro Education Foundation surprise patrols hit all four of the Navarro ISD’s campuses handing out grants to help enhance student learning across the district.

This year’s group gave more than $57,000 to the district funding 51 requests, NEF Vice President Holly Hagen said.

“We were able to fund every grant,” she said. “They may not have gotten the exact amount they had asked for, but everybody got something, or the majority of it.”

One of the more notable requests was for the intermediate and junior campuses, which saw several teachers join forces to create outdoor classrooms for their students.

“The outdoor classroom project will enhance instruction to the students by allowing them to learn in an outdoor setting and incorporate lessons into flowers, plants and insects,” according to a statement by the NEF.

Additionally, the organization granted funds for teachers to create a kindness garden for the intermediate campus.

“You guys are going to get to build both your kindness garden and your outdoor classroom,” fifth-grade teacher Celeste Nored told her class. “We’re going to get to buy enough rocks for every single teacher and every single student in the campus to decorate a river rock with a positive saying. We’re going to have a huge river of colorful rocks. Mr. (Matt) Oster (Intermediate school art teacher) is going to make artwork that can go out there. Y’all will build that with him.”

At the high school campus, Randal Springs will have the opportunity to create a Texas High School Barbecue Association Competition Team.

The fourth-grade teachers cheered and clapped as they were presented the funds to take their students to H-E-B Camp.

“It is fun to see the excitement in their eyes, knowing that they are going to get something different than the everyday routine,” Hagen said.

This year’s list of grant requests included several experience-type educational opportunities that involve either people, animals or adventures coming to the campus or for the students to take a trip.

“I felt like this year’s grants this year as they were coming through for us to review, was there was a lot of variety in them,” Hagen said. “We love the fact that we are getting to bring experiences to the classroom and also help with the H-E-B Camp, by funding that as well. That was fun.”

Other items across the district include flexible seating, musical instruments, books, funding to start a Fiber Arts and Sewing Club as well as a Latin Voyagers Club, author visits, and more.

Felicia Frazar is the managing editor of the Seguin Gazette. You can e-mail her at felicia.frazar@seguingazette.com .

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