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UCEF Awards $20K In Grants to Support Unique Classroom Projects

Photos of awardees with their checks


  • Carrot, the beloved resident snake in Rubina McCadney’s Brittany Woods Middle School classroom, now has plenty of snacks to eat.

  • Students in Jessica Job’s preK class at Julia Goldstein Early Childhood Education Center will explore making intricate patterns and shadows on the wall with colored light blocks and light projectors.

  • The Golden Girls Dance team at University City High School now have showy gold capes for performances and showcases. 

  • Danny Dumain’s music students at Pershing Elementary will sound out notes and musical scores thanks to new electronic keyboards. 

These are just a few of the many exciting learning and experiential opportunities made possible by the 2022 grant awards from the University City Education Foundation (UCEF). The volunteer nonprofit awarded more than $20,000 in grants to University City Schools teachers and staff on December 7, 2022 to help them enhance their students' experiences in classrooms and student activities. 

The awards - and the actual items - were presented by President Linda “Cookie” Jones and other board members during a celebration party for the awardees held in the library at Brittany Woods Middle School - the same place where the volunteer board meets regularly to fundraise and select grant awardees.  

Every year, UCEF advertises the grants to district staff and students, who then apply with proposals for resources they need to enhance learning and social emotional experiences in classrooms or school buildings. The group further supports larger fundraising efforts for The School District of University City. 

About 30 staff and board members attended the celebration. Guests enjoyed delicious snacks from Salt and Smoke. There was also a surprise visit from Carrot, a three-foot orange and white snake who resides in Brittany Woods Middle School teacher Rubina McCadney’s classroom. Carrot was the lucky recipient of food and other habitat items from UCEF and often provides support and comfort in the classroom, as she likes to calmly snuggle with students. 

To learn more about UCEF, check them out on Facebook. The full list of awardees is below.

  • $1,250 - Kim Deitzler, University City High School
    A More Inclusive Library: Foreign Language Fiction for English Language Learners 
  • $708 - Michael Dorsey, University City High School
    Building Thinking Classrooms: White Boards on Wheels 
  • $1,753 - Anne Cummings, Brittany Woods Middle School
    Edible School Yard Comes to Brittany Woods
  • $1,244 - Jessica Job, Julia Goldstein Early Childhood Education Center
    Exploring Light and Shadow Play 
  • $1,177 - Jaquin McBride, Pershing Elementary School
    For the Love of Reading
  • $1,200 - Kelsi Tatum, Barbara C. Jordan Elementary School
    Language Growth in Young Learners
  • $1,000 - Nancy Luebbers, Pershing Elementary School
    Maker Space Startup 
  • $920 - Michael Daly, University City High School
    Robolink Zumi
  • $1,000 - Shannon Hayslett, University City High School
    U Right Snack Services Business
  • $950 - Danny DuMaine, Pershing Elementary School
    Opening Creative Minds Through Keyboards
  • $625 - Patrick Gilligan, University City High School
    Literary Magazine
  • $1,250 - Erin Bratkowski, University City High School
    To Kill a Mockingbird Live Experience at The Fox Theatre
  • $1,213 - Monique Hite-Patterson, Jackson Park Elementary School
    I Can BEE a Coder
  • $983 - Jill Rogers, Pershing Elementary School
    Joyful Confident Readers Raise Their Voices 
  • $1,250 - Nicole Thomas, University City High School
    UCHS Golden Girls Dance Team Capes for Performances
  • $1,250 - Stacey Miller, Pershing Elementary School
    Flourishing Families - Pershing Parents Support Connection
  • $990 - Matt Keller, Brittany Woods Middle School
    "Feed the Cats" Speed Program
  • $1,250 - Sarah Bailey, Pershing Elementary School
    Book Battle: Building Skills and Nurturing a Love of Reading through Competition 
  • $587 - Rubina McCadney, Brittany Woods Middle School
    Carrots and Sticks - Feed the Classroom Snake