There were tears when representatives from the Galveston Educational Foundation and several members of the Ball High School band and cheerleaders presented a check to Zahrah Ektefaei.

“It’s really cool,” Ektefaei, a teacher at Ball High School, said. “It will help us buy microscopes to see more live specimens and take still shots.”

The check, which was for $7,626 to purchase 40 digital microscopes, was one of many the foundation is giving out Wednesday and Thursday as part of its annual grant award program.

“This has grown every year,” foundation President Justin Serrette said. “It’s for teachers’ ideas. They have great ideas that often they just don’t have the money to do.”

The foundation gives out about $190,000 in grants per year.

That amount is divided into two different grant processes, which are given out twice a year.

The fall grants given out last Wednesday and Thursday handed out $73,000 to schools across the district.

Other grants at Ball High were given for a large-scale printer, paper shredders, Chromebooks and iPads.

Each classroom the foundation visited greeted the announcement with celebration and appreciation.

“I’m very excited,” Gregory Reeves said. “The kids (in TSA) love to compete and I felt bad they weren’t able to compete in the large-scale stuff. This will be a big help.”

Ball High School was one of the biggest recipients with about $19,000 in grants along with Coastal Village Elementary at about $9,500.

“It just lends a quality to the education that might not otherwise be there,” Harris Kempner said.

Kempner is one of many donations to the foundation for the grants.

One grant meant something special to the multiple members of the band who accompanied the foundation, playing as each grant was presented.

Stephen Duncan, a band teacher, received a grant for $3,444 for iPads that will allow band members to play music with digital accompaniment.

“Things like this will definitely help us with our practicing,” Zach Vanness, a senior with the band, said. “We really appreciate it.”

Contact reporter Matthew deGrood at 409-683-5230 or


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