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HIES Awards 2020 Greenbaum Grants

Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School is proud to announce the 2020 recipients of the Greenbaum Grants. Middle School Spanish teacher Eliza Suarez and Upper School visual arts teacher Patrick Pilkey both will pursue professional development opportunities this summer with their grants. 

Ms. Suarez plans to visit Guanajuato, a small city in central Mexico that serves as the setting for two fictional novels, Las aventuras de Isabela and Carl no quiere ir a México, which students study in Spanish class. She will visit all of the sites mentioned in the novels, including the Universidad de Guanajuato, La Basílica Colegiata de Nuestra Señora de Guanajuato and the Parque Unión. She will document her journey with journals, photos and videos. Ms. Suarez also plans to visit a local Waldorf School to see if it could become a partner for HIES. As she travels, she will try to determine if the trip could be replicated as a Middle School trip, which would allow the novels to come to life for students. 

Mr. Pilkey will use his grant to create a photojournalistic body of work that shows the deep impact of the Robert W. Sherer Power Plant on Juliette, Ga., a town of about 3,000 residents in Monroe County near Macon. The Sherer plant, which covers 12,000 acres, is one of the largest source of greenhouse gases and carbon dioxide in the United States, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Residents in Juliette have documented illnesses that are linked to the plant’s effects, and water sources in the area have been found to contain unsafe levels of toxic chemicals seeping from the plant. 

Mr. Pilkey will reside in Juliette this summer and document his experience with photographs, both of the land and of residents he meets. He will create an exhibit of informative photographs that he hopes to showcase in a local gallery and share with HIES students in a lecture, with a goal of educating others as well as inspiring positive change. The lecture can serve as both a lesson in photography as well as science. “Being a bystander to suffering is not an option,” he wrote in his grant application. 

“The Greenbaum Grant gives faculty the opportunity to do something outside of the box,” Michele Duncan, director of institutional advancement, said. “The grant has allowed our faculty to be creative within their current classes and has also given them the opportunity to create new programming for students.” 

Endowed by the Greenbaum Family, the Greenbaum Grants are designed to promote teaching excellence by providing teachers with resources to undertake special enrichment activities beyond what might otherwise be covered by the school’s professional development budget. Grant applications are reviewed and awards are approved by a committee consisting of the director of institutional advancement, the associate head of school and the recipients of the award from the previous school year.