The Miami Public School Enrichment Foundation celebrated its 20th anniversary with an Academy Awards- style program on Tuesday.
This year, more than 70 grants amounting to almost $40,000 was distributed among Miami teachers and schools following a catered dinner at the Miami Civic Center.
For the second consecutive year, a Redwood premium drawing was held among teachers attending the banquet who submitted additional grant requests for the random drawing.
This year's winner was Sally Fenska, a science teacher at Miami High School.
“This is a heartfelt blessing,” Fenska said.
The grant will be used to purchase a document camera which will allow the whole class to view microscopic images in high definition.
Wade Walls announced that Brian Anderson, a chief engineer with mission operations at NASA, has been named Miami High School's Outstanding Alumnus for 2008.
Unable to attend the banquet, Anderson sent his acceptance via video.
A graduate of Miami High School, Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College and Arkansas Technology with a bachelor of science degree in physics, he started his career at NASA as a space shuttle flight controller. Now, he is teaching others to do that job.
He has also worked on and led several research teams - one of which developed the software to allow American aviation, foreign shuttles and space stations to work together.
It saved the government $100 millon in development and $25 millon in annual maintenance costs, according to Anderson.
“I'm lucky because I enjoy my job and have fun getting to do it,” Anderson said.
Anderson's award was accepted by Leroy Anderson, his father.
“He's my father and my hero,” Brian Anderson said in the video. “Being honored by my hometown means a great deal to me and makes me proud.”
Previous winners include Steve Owens, Charles Banks Wilson, George Coleman, Charles A. Neal, Carol Littleton, David Adams, Willie Osborn, Janalee Caldwell, Larry Smith, Vance Gilmore, Fern Holland and Mary Sue Price.
The Miami Public Schools Enrichment Foundation, a non-profit organization, was founded in 1988 to encourage excellence in the Miami Public Schools. It provides grants to teachers and scholarships to students for enrichment of the educational process.
All proceeds from the banquet help the foundation promote excellence in the local school system.