Local school asking for votes to win grant

AU TRAIN– One local teacher entered in a national contest and ended up being one of ten teachers to win $500 to spend on her students. Diane Illikainen thought her classroom had won it all – turns out, it’s just the beginning of the excitement.

“I was so surprised, I enter contests and I write for grants you know as much as I can,” teacher Diane Illikainen said. “I’m just so thrilled to learn that I had been chosen.”

Illikainen teaches kindergarten and first grade at AuTrain-Onota Public School. The local teacher is not just the only one to win in the U.P., but the sole winner of Tools for Teachers grant from Shopko in Michigan. The good news for the school continues with another opportunity to possibly give back even more to the classroom.

“They figure most teachers spend $500 a year out of their own pocket,” Illikainen said. “Then in the email a little later it said that I was in the running for $5,000.”

In order to win Illikainen must receive the most votes online by October 5th. Sometimes in education the arts are cut, Illikeyein said although the school is small the teachers split up their strengths and free periods to make sure it doesn’t happen here. If AuTrain-Onota Public School wins the money will go towards a kiln so the students can make clay projects.

“In larger schools students have more opportunities to work with tools that the smaller schools just aren’t able to buy,” Illikainen said. “This would be such a wonderful opportunity for our students.”

The rest of the money would be spent on more instruments for the school’s music program. The school is asking for some Yooper pride and to go online everyday until October 5th and place your vote for Mrs. Illikeyein.

To vote for Diane Illikainen visit Tools for Teachers.