TRTF Grant and Scholarship Recipients Share Their Stories

Thank you members of the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) for joining us during Foundation Month: a time to honor the charitable work done by our partner organization, the Texas Retired Teachers Foundation (TRTF).

Today, we focus on two of TRTF’s longstanding programs: Classroom Assistance Grants for Texas public school teachers and Beginning Teacher Scholarships for educators entering the field for the very first time. With your support, TRTF continues to expand its programs to help more educators of the past, present, and future!

Classroom Assistance Grants:

  • TRTF will provide 40 $500 Classroom Assistance Grants to public school teachers in Texas in 2021. (This is an increase from the 30 grants awarded in 2020).
  • Since 2008, TRTF has awarded more than $108,000 in grants for public school teachers to 216 recipients.

Beginning Teacher Scholarships:

  • TRTF will provide 25 $750 Beginning Teacher Scholarships to recent college graduates who will be teaching for the first time in the fall of 2021. (This is an increase from the 20 scholarships awarded in 2020).
  • TRTF has awarded more than $108,000 in scholarship funds since 2008.

The Texas Retired Teachers Foundation (TRTF) awarded 30 $500 grants to public-school teachers in the spring of 2020 as part of their Classroom Assistance Grant program and 20 $750 Beginning Teacher Scholarships to recent college graduates who began their bright careers this fall.

Since TRTF trustees were not able to deliver any grants or scholarships in person this year, we asked this year’s recipients to provide us with a photo and brief statement about their projects or classroom needs that are being funded by TRTF, thanks to the generosity of donors and supporters like you!

Below is winner Heidi Blancarte, who is a K-5 music teacher at Memorial Elementary in New Braunfels. “My students and I will use this grant to supplement melodic instruments for collaborative student use. Students will use these instruments to promote music literacy, improvise and compose their own music. At a time like this, healthy self-expression is so important for our students’ mental health and engagement in learning. Thank you so much to TRTF!”

Below is winner Mario Ponciano, who works for East Terrell Hills Elementary in San Antonio. “I would like to begin by thanking TRTF. As a special education teacher, I am tasked with presenting instruction to students with various learning styles. The one item that I successfully introduced to them recently was interactive robots. Students were able to manipulate them for use with all content areas. The success factor came in the form of retention of information with high frequency. It is for that reason that the grant was used to purchase interactive Sphero devices that allow students to manipulate them in their pursuit of knowledge. I introduced my personal Star Wars based devices and saw priceless smiles across the board. Creating excitement about learning is my goal. TRTF has just made a dream come true!”

TRTF Beginning Teacher Scholarship recipient Candance Kubecka received her degree in Education and teaching certification from The University of Houston – Victoria. She is related to TRTA member Dorris Andel from Edna, Texas. Currently, Kubecka teaches at Patti Welder Magnet Middle School in Victoria. She used her TRTF scholarship funds to purchase a classroom printer, sensory items, and a mobile cart that allows her remote students to stay more connected with her and the in-person classroom while learning from home. She also purchased staplers, hole punches, colored pencils, scissors, and glue sticks for her students, and still has funds remaining, which she plans to use at a later date as needs arise. Candace provided TRTF with a cell phone video of her classroom that you may watch below.

Below is TRTF Beginning Teacher Scholarship recipient Bailey Pruett. She is the granddaughter of TRTA member/TRTF Trustee Brenda Ritter. She sent us the photo below with this caption: “Jumping for JOY!! Today I officially graduated (from college) and I could not be any more excited! Thank you to my family, fiance and friends for all your love and support over the years!” Bailey was hired by Katy ISD.

Bailee Burkett, another scholarship recipient, is related to TRTA member Velva Hock, who appears in the photo below with her. Bailee says, “Thank you so much for awarding me a scholarship. It has been a huge blessing for me as I begin my teaching journey. I am going to be using the funds to help jumpstart my classroom for this coming year by purchasing classroom decorations, etc. I will be teaching 7th grade this year and am so excited!”

Applications Now Available for Download!

Applications for the 2021-2022 Beginning Teacher Scholarship program and the Classroom Assistance Grant program are available on the TRTF website at for download. The deadline to submit an application is Thursday, February 25, 2021 at 5:00 p.m.

Please Donate Today

With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, TRTF’s programs have become more important than ever. Our school children, teachers, and retirees need our help! As a 501(c)(3), we are in a unique position to raise donations and deploy them through our unique charitable programs. We are determined to help!

Please consider making your tax-deductible charitable contribution to TRTF today as part of our annual fundraising drive. You may donate online here or call 1.800.880.1650 and ask for Sarah.
Please stay tuned to the Inside Line throughout the month of November as we update you on TRTF’s programs and share stories from individual program recipients.

Related News