The Ascension Fund awards grants to educators for the 2017-2018 school year

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen
From left: Ascension Fund Board Member Lisa Dunigan, Gonzales Primary Principal Roddy Melancon, Grant Recipients Andrea Shutz, Brandee Orgeron, Phaedra Early and Ascension Fund Board Member Sherrie Despino.

The Ascension Fund Board, sponsors and volunteers managed to surprise teachers at 22 schools across Ascension Parish with the news that they have received grant funds to support innovative and creative methods of learning for our students. The Ascension Fund, a non-profit organization, awarded a total of $47,500 in its latest round of competitive grants.

A total of 42 Grants were awarded this year including six (6) School Impact Grants for $2,500 each and 36 Teacher Grants ranging between $500 and $1,000.

Ascension Fund Grant Recipients are willing to take the extra time to develop innovative initiatives to enhance student learning in the classroom; they truly go above and beyond which makes delivering the grant awards one of the most rewarding opportunities offered to our board each year,” said Michael Buturla, Ascension Fund President.

The Ascension Fund was established in 1991 as a project of the Rotary Club of Gonzales. Original pledges of $800,000 for the creation of The Ascension Fund were placed in an endowment, the income from which now funds the grants. The Fund provided its first grant in 1992, and since that time has given 1,220 grants representing $1.45 million in awards to area public schools and teachers. The Ascension Fund is guided by a board of directors and the invested funds are overseen by the Baton Rouge Area Foundation.

Serving on the Board of Directors are President Michael Buturla, Vice President Sally Diez, Treasurer Brad Walker, Secretary Lisa Dunigan, Jason Bonaventure, Sherrie Despino, Malcolm Dugas, Jr., Alsie Dunbar, Fritz Englade, Sr., Sonny Graugnard, Amy Hathorn-Lambert, Kevin Hardy, Bret Hughes, Juanita Pearley, Cherron Philippe, Timothy Pujol, Pierre Rabalais, Paulette Rosamond, Beryl Smith, Donald Songy and Buddy Wells.

Please join us in congratulating our 2017-2018 Grant Winners and thanking our Grant Sponsors:

APPle Digital Academy: Mary Anderman, $1,000 from the Buddy & Martha Wells Endowment.

Central Middle: Shamyra Williams, $2,500 from the AllStar Ford/Lincoln Endowment.

Central Primary: Kailee Landry, $1,000 from the Chester, Jr. & Penny Diez in memory of

Chester, Sr. & Mildred Diez Endowment.

Donaldsonville High: Angela Amedee, $500 from the Ascension Health &Nutrition Alliance Endowment; and Michael Hilton, $2,500 from the PotashCorp-Geismar Endowment.

Donaldsonville Primary: Natasha Sheldon, $1,000 from the Rubicon Endowment.

Duplessis Primary: Jessica LeBlanc, $1,000 from the Vulcan Materials Endowment.

Dutchtown High: Mandy Perret, $1,000 from the Claire Carline Memorial Endowment.

Dutchtown Middle: Brooke Todd, $1,000 from the Bill & Pauline Buxton Memorial Endowment.

Dutchtown Primary: Aja Davis, $2,500 from the EATELCORP in memory of Mrs. Anona C. Banker Endowment.

East Ascension High: Deborah Ellis, $500 from the Ronald W. Baron Family Endowment; Jessica Montgomery, $2,500 from the BASF Corporation Endowment; and Michele Sievert, $1,000 from the M. Paul and Janice LeBlanc Memorial Endowment.

G. W. Carver Primary: Sheena Prelow, $1,000 for the BASF Corporation Endowment; Kalynn Deslatte, $1,000 from the CF Industries Endowment; and Mechel Taylor, $1,000 from the Turner Industries Endowment.

Galvez Primary: Tara Trabeau, $1,000 from the Rotary Club of Gonzales in Memory of its Deceased Members Endowment.

Gonzales Middle: Cedric Parms, $1,000 from the Whitney Bank Endowment; and Carla Babin, $1,000 from the Viola Philippe in memory of Ed & Virginia Braud, Jr. Endowment.

Gonzales Primary: Phaedra Early$2,500 from the Arthur G. & Ruth B. Scanlan Memorial Endowment; Brandee Orgeron, $1,000 from the Philippe Family in memory of Raymond Philippe Sr., A.S. “Blue” Philippe and David “Wolfie” Philippe; and Andrea Schutz, $500 from the Roy Stern Memorial Endowment.

Lake Elementary: Alison Krouse, $1,000 from the Capital One Bank Endowment; Amy Britt, $500 from the Randy J. Braud Memorial Endowment; Skylar Laiche, $1,000 from the Freeport-McMoran Endowment; Amanda Martinez, $500 from the InfiniEdge Software Endowment; and Jacie Dunbar, $1,000 from the Honeywell, Inc. Endowment.

Lowery Elementary: Hailey Guidry, $500 from the Oxy Chemical Endowment; and Sandi Bourque, $1,000 from the Regions Bank Endowment.

Oak Grove Primary: Shannon Rodi, $500 from the Air Products Endowment; and Kami Jackson, $1,000 from the Rotary Club of East Ascension in memory of Sgt. Jay Ryan Gauthreaux.

Prairieville Primary: Kris Ratcliff and Candace McKay, $2,500 from the Shell Companies Louisiana Endowment.

Spanish Lake Primary: Andre Stein, $1,000 from the Southwest Computer Bureau; Jody Kling, $1,000 from the St. Elizabeth Hospital Endowment; Rosalyn Magee, $1,000 from the Terra Mississippi Nitrogen Endowment; Dominique Bordelon, $1,000 for the Williams-Olefin Endowment; Jenna Braud, $1,000 from the Shell Companies Louisiana Endowment; and Jamie Urban, $1,000 from the Claude & Carolyn Songy Endowment.

St. Amant High: Nicole Tanner, $1,000 from the Fritz Englade, Sr. Family Endowment; and Tara Jones, $1,000 from the AllStar Lincoln/Ford Endowment.

St. Amant Primary: Lisa Babin, $1,000 from the Lion Copolymer Endowment; and Diann Moran, $1,000 from the Neese Industries, Inc. Endowment.

For more information about our grant program or to make a donation to The Ascension Fund visit or call 225-290-3322.