Unum awards grants to more than 60 local educators

Sixty-three Hamilton County educators were awarded more than $50,000 in grant funds last week through Unum's Strong Schools Grants program.

The grants were given to educators who demonstrate effective and creative ways to engage students and improve their learning and achievement levels, according to a news release. Educators from 39 different Hamilton County schools received funds.

"Support for students, teachers and schools in our communities is our single biggest area of giving," said Cary Olson-Cartwright, assistant vice president of corporate social responsibility at Unum, in a statement. "Through the Strong Schools grant program, we're able to help talented educators engage students in innovative and creative approaches to learning by providing funding directly into classrooms."

Classroom projects that were awarded funding ranged from purchasing supplies to build robots, rockets, video games and weather instruments to creating calming sensory rooms to help students with anxiety, grief, stress, anger or exhaustion, the release states. Since the program was launched in 2009, more than 500 grants have been awarded.

Chattanooga State employees raise more than $50K for student scholarships

Faculty and staff at Chattanooga State Community College gave $53,036 toward several funds, including scholarships, during the 2019 fiscal year, school officials say.

"We wish to express our gratitude to Dr. Roy Sofield, chair of the employee giving campaign, and all of our faculty and staff who made gifts to the Chattanooga State Foundation," said Suzanne Harris, college advancement coordinator, in a statement. "Employee giving exceeded last year's amount, with an overall giving total of $53,036, up from $42,885 last year."

One of the many funds supported through employee efforts includes the Helping Hands Fund. Established in 2018, more than 119 donors have given $17,000 toward the fund. Most of the gifts came from faculty and staff through payroll deduction, according to a news release. The school's president Rebecca Ashford celebrated the campaign efforts during a Breakfast of Champions event in May.

Catoosa County Public Schools launches new website

Visitors to the Catoosa County Public Schools website will be greeted with a pleasant surprise, according to the Catoosa County News. The school district launched a new website ahead of students' return to school on Aug. 12.

The new website features a drop-down menu with easy access to high-demand pages, "parent quick links" and easily accessible contact information, according to district spokeswoman Marissa Brower. Each individual school's website has also gotten a makeover.

The new system website provides updated contact information for administrators, individual school supply lists and even daily lunch menus.

Professional Actor Training Program at Chattanooga State open for auditions

This fall, the Professional Actor Training Program at Chattanooga State Community College is celebrating its 17th cohort and is now accepting auditions for new students.

The curriculum and style are modeled after The New Actors Workshop, a training program in New York City founded by George Morrison, Mike Nichols and Paul Sills. Rex Knowles and Sherry Landrum, who taught and administered the program in New York for 10 years, head the program, according to a news release.

The two-year program is designed for students interested in careers in theatre, film, and television. The program consists of four technical certificates in acting: beginning, intermediate, advanced and professional.

Students earn 16 credit hours per semester, and some students supplement their certificate training with general education classes in order to earn an associate's degree and then continue their studies at a four-year institution.

Graduates of the program have gone on to award-winning careers as actors, directors, production managers and more, according to the release.

For more information or to schedule an audition, visit or contact Rex Knowles at 423-697-3246.

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