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Biedenharn Foundation Awards $50,000 To Bossier Teachers

Courtesy: Chuck Smith/Red River Radio News

SUPPORTING EDUCATION - The Biedenharn family of Shreveport  owned and operated  the local Coca-Cola bottling plant decades  and the family  established the philanthropic Biedenharn Foundation to support wildlife preservation and education.  Yesterday  the family’s organization awarded some money to local teachers.

Yesterday 29 teachers from the Bossier Parish School System were awarded  a total of $50,000 in grants  to fund education projects   they created  to further reach and engage students in the classroom.   For the fifth year in a row, the Biedenharn Foundation, awarded  the grants.  It all took place yesterday afternoon at the Bossier Parish School for Technology and Innovative Learning.  Superintendent Scott Smith says school systems not only welcome such philanthropy,  they need it to accomplish educational goals.

Credit Courtesy: Chuck Smith/Red River Radio News
Scott Smith, Superintendent-Bossier Parish School System

"We're always at a shortage of taxpayer dollars,"explained Smith. "So when someone steps forward that has that type of funding and can help education, it helps kids. It's all about the kids."

Beauchamp Powers teaches American History at Haughton Middle School. He explains his grant money will go a long way in creating a more immersive learning experience for students.

"My project is able to purchase some iPods, these iPods will go along with my greenscreen technology and my virtual reality goggles for virtual presentations and augmented presentations," explained Powers. "Put them (students) in that situation and they're going to remember it for a lifetime."

Credit Courtesy: Chuck Smith/Red River Radio News
Beauchamp Powers, American History Teacher - Haughton Middle School

The grants were presented in memory of Sydney Biedenharn, a Bossier Parish resident whose family was the first to own and operate the Coca-Cola Bottling operation in Shreveport.  Biedenharn was a high school  teacher for many years before joining her family’s business.  She passed away in 2012.  Her daughter  Reina Walker Bailey presented checks to the teachers.

"My mother was a teacher until she died. Even when we were kids, she was always teaching us, it never stopped our whole lives." said Reina. "It would mean a lot to her seeing how the money is being used with the kids."

The teacher’s projects funded by the grants will focus mostly on acquiring technology to  enhancing science, technology, history, and math curriculum.. The Sidney Biedenharn Educators Endowment has awarded 77 classroom grants over the last five years, totaling $155,000.

Credit Courtesy: Chuck Smith/Red River Radio News
Scott Smith- Superintendent, Reina Walker Bailey, unidentified teacher, Sonja Bailes during Sydney Biedenharn Educators Endowment presentation at Bossier School for Technology and Innovative Learning on Dec. 17, 2018.

Chuck Smith brings more than 30 years' broadcast and media experience to Red River Radio. He began his career as a radio news reporter and transitioned to television journalism and newsmagazine production. Chuck studied mass communications at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia and motion picture / television production at the University of California at Los Angeles. He has also taught writing for television at York Technical College in Rock Hill, South Carolina and video / film production at Centenary College of Louisiana, Shreveport.