LAPLACE, La. (WGNO)— Teachers and students in St. John the Baptist Parish are getting ready for the start of school. Marathon Petroleum’s Garyville Refinery sponsored a back-to-school bash at East St. John High School on Thursday.
“We’re stressed a lot, you know, we deal with a lot, so to have this together, and we all know what each other’s going through during the school year, so to have this, even mid-school year, beginning of the school year, it is needed for us, so we enjoy it,” said Diashiki Snyder Brown, a teacher at East St. John Preparatory Academy.
School employees received prizes, but the biggest surprise was the announcement of a workforce development grant, courtesy of Marathon.
“They’ve been resilient. They’ve been through two and a half years of pure challenges, and Marathon has been beside us the whole way,” said St. John Parish Schools Interim Superintendent Rebecca Johnson. “They’ve announced today that they’re giving us $350,000 to be able to certify all of our uncertified teachers in this district, and, you know, I started out as an uncertified teacher, so that really means a lot.”
The grant will cover the accreditation costs for 120 non-certified teachers within the school system.
“It’s not just a title. It’s not just a piece of paper, but what it truly is, is a wage and a cost-of-living increase,” said Iman Montgomery, a Marathon Petroleum representative. “It’s also an opportunity for professional and personal advancement.”>
Teachers who will directly benefit from the grant are appreciative of Marathon’s involvement following a trying year.
“That special grant [is] going to be awesome to the school district,” said Paula Henderson, a SPED and English teacher at East St. John High School. “Their presence here was a gift, just knowing that they care about the community, all of the schools.”
The information on how to get accredited will be on the district’s website by Friday.
Teachers are also encouraged to speak with their schools’ principals about the process.