Becky Busby plans to use a $2,500 grant to take Frank Long Elementary School to the next level.
Busby, a kindergarten through fifth grade gifted teacher, was awarded the grant from Farmers Insurance to kick start her robotics program idea.
"My goal is to start the very first robotics program in Liberty County right here at Frank Long Elementary," Busby said.
She was in the school cafeteria talking with staff about an upcoming Christmas party when Farmers Insurance representatives and FLE Principal Debra Sukaratana came in to surprise her with a giant check. Her colleagues clapped and cheered.
"I learned about a week or so ago that Ms. Busby had won and I’m extremely excited that she is able to bring a program like this to our students at our school," Sukaratana said. "They are very deserving and she is a superior teacher that only cares about the best for our kids."
Busby serves a select group of students and Sukaratana commended her for wanting the program for the entire student body to experience.
Busby plans to use the grant to purchase Dash and Dot robots that students can program and code with iPads.
"It teaches advance robotics and programming. We’re also going to get some Sphero robots, a BB-8 which interacts with Star Wars, which will get the kids really excited about coding and programming and computers," Busby said.
Farmers Insurance Agent Barry Gravitt said he was thrilled and grateful to present Busby with the check. Farmers Insurance gives $10 million in grants annually to teachers, Gravitt said, and called the process "competitive."
Busby applied online for the grant in early October. Her project had to stay within the top 60 projects with the most votes in order to be considered.
"I am beyond the moon excited. I’m so thankful. Thankful for everyone who voted for the project. Thankful for my colleagues and we have students across all of Liberty County that voted and that made a huge impact as well. I had to beg and beg and beg people to vote for it," she said.
She was overwhelmed by the surprise and could hardly believe that her project idea was chosen.
"I’m so excited and I know Frank Long is going to benefit and the students here at Frank Long for many, many years to come are going to have the opportunity to use these robotics, to participate in higher order thinking and reach beyond just what the textbook can offer and just take everything to the next level," Busby said.
She believes the program will prepare students for jobs in the future that do not exist yet.
"I’m so thankful to Farmers Insurance for thinking of our project and thinking of Frank Long," Busby said. "I’m thankful for my students—they’re my inspiration. I’m just happy that I get to play a little part in their educational journey."