From catapults to Sherlock Holmes, meet the Coast teachers bringing innovation to class

A basket full of chocolate apples are always a staple treat at the Leo Seal InnovativeTeacher Grant luncheon.
A basket full of chocolate apples are always a staple treat at the Leo Seal InnovativeTeacher Grant luncheon. Sun Herald file

Linda Fowler said they have become synonymous with the Leo W. Seal Innovative Teacher Grants.

She's talking about, of course, the chocolate apples.

"We've been doing it for years, I'm not even certain how long Hancock Bank has been giving them away," Fowler said. "Put they have become a part of the awards and people love them."

Fowler, who said she has retired from Hancock Bank and is acting as a consultant for Friday's award presentation, said the popularity of the treats has changed the distribution model.

"Hancock Bank has the apples made by a company called," she said. "We used to have them on the tables, but people love them so much that they were always asking for more, so we decided to start putting them in baskets and letting people help themselves."

The chocolate apples were one of the star attractions of the 22nd annual presentation of the awards Friday at the Great Southern Club. The ceremony is hosted by Hancock Bank.

The program awards grant money for outstanding teaching and commitment to students at public and private schools in the seven counties in which Hancock Bank has branches: Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, Pearl River, Jefferson Davis, Lamar and Forrest counties.

The grants help fund original projects to reinforce classroom lessons and state objectives. The teachers were given up to $2,000, depending upon their project.

Here's a look at the 2018 Leo W. Seal Innovative Teacher Grants.

Joshua Andrews of Bay High School in Bay St. Louis

Andrews' “Hydroponics in the Courtyard” will help students collaborate with science department faculty to create a functional, productive, “Nutrient Film Technique” garden system on campus benefiting the entire student body.

Reynolds Bodenhamer of Gulfport High School

Bodenhamer's students will create a traveling history museum exhibit based on original local research. They will design lessons to accompany the exhibit “Gulfport’s Mobile Museum" and teach at schools in their district.

Casey Campbell of William Colmer Middle School in Pascagoula

Campbell will create “Traveling Trunks Bring History to Life,” an ordinary trunk containing Civil War artifacts, replica uniforms, and documents will bring an important lesson to life for students of Casey Campbell at William Colmer Middle School. The War Between the States will become tangible so that students can see, hear, and touch many of its important relics.

Emily Cloud of St. Patrick Catholic High School in Biloxi

Cloud's “AP Biology Greenhouse,” students at St. Patrick Catholic High School will learn how to start and maintain a garden to use in experiments throughout the year. Fresh organic produce and pride in their work will be just two of the benefits the students will enjoy.

Emileigh Ellis of Gulfport High School

Through Ellis' “Connecting Classes Through Innovative Technology," her students at Gulfport High School discover how to connect learning with real life by using “Zspace” technology. The Anatomy & Physiology and math classes will collaborate with the Career and Technology Education course, Health Science, to build lessons on the relationships between math and science, and the medical field.

Megan Foster and Marae Amacker of Crossroads Elementary School in Gulfport

Foster and Amacker will complete hands-on projects to learn more about environmental, ocean, and geo-technical engineering through their educational project, “Full STEAM Ahead!”

Melissa Payne of D’Iberville High School

Payne's “Understanding the Science Behind the Investigations of Sherlock Holmes” will teach D’Iberville High School students how to apply investigative techniques used by the famous detective in order to solve fictional crimes.

Brittany Pitman of Central Elementary School in Pascagoula

Pitman's students at Central Elementary School will better understand historical figures as they participate in a living wax museum through their project, “Bringing Mississippi History to Life.” Using 21st-century technology to research cultural significance, they will learn to think, speak, and dress like their Mississippi innovator.

Erika Reynolds of College and Career Technical Institute in Pascagoula

H.I.C.C.U.P. (Helping Ill Children Cope Using Puppetry) is a community service project created by Reynolds of College and Career Technical Institute in Pascagoula. Students will purchase children's books as well as supplies to create puppets of the books; main characters, which will be donated to organizations that care for sick children.

Cagney Weaver of Biloxi Upper Elementary School

Weaver’s “Growing Leaders: A Garden of Change” will help Biloxi Upper Elementary students develop environmental stewardship as they establish and maintain schoolyard plantings that will produce food and provide habitat for wildlife.

Katherine Windham of D’Iberville High School

Physics students of Windham at D’Iberville High School will grasp engineering skills by creating catapults that will launch pumpkins or cantaloupes at a target. This fun, hands-on construction project will help them understand concepts such as physics, gravity, tension, and mechanics as they learn about the “Physics of Pumpkin Chunkin.”