My name is Stefanie Vorrasi and I have been an art teacher at Propel for seven years. Over these years, I have actively sought out extra funding for all of my big ideas. I enjoy the challenges and opportunities that grant writing provides. Achieving my funding goals has lead to enriched learning experiences for my students and has helped foster connections in the community.
Propel has a wonderful opportunity for educators called the Innovation Grant. For the past four years I have successfully applied for and have been selected as a recipient for this grant. I have been able to hire local artists such as sculptor and mosaic artist Laura Jean McLuaghlin. Currently, local animator Jayla Patton is working with my 2nd ,4th and 6th grade students to teach the fundamentals of stop motion animation. I have also used these grants to take students to cultural organizations in Pittsburgh — from the National Aviary to the Union Project.
I love, love, love “Donorschoose!” Sometimes there are projects that I want to do that I hadn’t planned on when ordering my supplies at the beginning of the year. Donorschoose.org is where I go when I need supplies that I didn’t order at the beginning of the year and to enrich the resources students can utilize in their work. I have also been lucky enough to acquire patrons from the Pittsburgh area that have come across my projects on Donorschoose. The result of this was having a 3D printer for my classroom fully funded.
I like taking students to the Union Project, a ceramics studio in East Liberty, to have a clay experience which they would not be able to have otherwise. The cost of these field trips can be expensive, so this year I applied for a field trip grant from Target. This was my first year applying for the grant and was ecstatic when I found out in December that I had be chosen as a recipient! This grant is going to afford my 4th graders an opportunity to learn about John James Audubon and his connection to Pennsylvania. We will create bird sculptures at the Union Project which will be painted with slip and then fired.
I just can’t help myself. When a great idea creeps into my head I find a way to make it come to fruition!