EATEL awards grants to Ascension Parish educators

Staff reports
EATEL presented the first Ginger Weber Technical Education grants, recognizing outstanding Career and Technical teachers, to Donaldsonville High teacher Jeff Templet and Dutchtown High teacher Patrick Ricks. Pictured from left are Ricks, Templet, Weber and EATEL president and CEO Robert Burgess.

EATEL recently presented the first Ginger Weber Technical Education grants, recognizing outstanding career and technical teachers, to Jeff Templet and Patrick Ricks.

The award, created and funded by the Gonzales-based communications company, recognizes Ascension Parish teachers who are driven to provide meaningful and innovative educational experiences that help students focus on real-life work place skills and become lifelong learners.

Each winner received $500 in recognition of the work they have done in the field of career and technical education.

Weber is retiring from the Ascension Parish School System after 31 years. She was instrumental in helping the school board receive diploma endorsements as well as promoting post secondary dual enrollment and increasing rigor for students in their senior year.

Weber also developed the first parish Job Fair in 2008 that involved several hundred high school juniors and seniors applying for local jobs.

She supported the Credit Recovery Program, designed to help high school students recover credits so that they may graduate on time and established the Centers of Excellence at high schools at Dutchtown, Donaldsonville, East Ascension and St. Amant high schools.

“Ginger has worked tirelessly to bring innovative courses and programs to Ascension Parish high schools,” said Robert Burgess, EATEL’s president and chief operating officer. “She is known throughout the state of Louisiana and is considered an expert in her field. She will truly be missed.”

A teacher at Donaldsonville High School since 2002, Jeff Templet has been an educator for 22 years. He currently teaches agriculture and welding and guides students in enrolling in postsecondary training such as Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) programs. Templet also supports his students’ active participation in Future Farmers of America (FFA) on both a state and national level.

Patrick Ricks has been teaching at Dutchtown High School since 2004. He helped develop the school’s Digital Media Program which has enabled many graduating students to earn career and technical endorsements. His enthusiasm for the digital media program spurred EATEL to help fund the program to introduce it to two other Ascension Parish high schools.

In addition to developing digital videos for various Ascension Parish programs and projects, several of his digital media students recently participated in animation training through the Red Stick International Animation Festival.

EATEL, a privately-owned Ascension Parish company that dates back to 1935, has a history of supporting education programs. The company received the 2007 Louisiana Governor’s Technology Award, “Technology Company of the Year,” and the Louisiana Department of Education’s 2007 Distinguished Partners in Education award.

EATEL was also chosen by Broadband Properties Magazine as a 2007 Cornerstone Award recipient.