First Financial Foundation Awards Classroom Grant to Freehold Township High School Teacher

Press Release


Pictured above: Freehold Township High School Teacher, Laura Vannauker (right) receives a check from First Financial President & CEO, Issa Stephan.

Freehold Township, NJ – Freehold Township High School Animal Science Teacher Laura Vannauker, a resident of New Egypt, was delighted when she received a surprise visit to her classroom by First Financial President & CEO, Issa Stephan, who brought her a $500 classroom grant for the 2012-2013 school year.

Ms. Vannauker submitted a grant application to purchase supplies for the pets kept in her classroom as part of the Animal and Botanical Sciences Academy at the school.  Specifically, the grant money will help to care for Bucky the rabbit and Bear the ferret (pictured below along with two students).  Both animals were donated to the class and require constant care and feeding.  Part of the grant money will be used to build a hutch so they can both live comfortably.


“I would also like to spend part of the grant money on an egg incubator,” said Vannauker.   ”We have hatched eggs in the past and it is always a highlight of the year for the students!”

Since First Financial began with a group of Asbury Park schoolteachers back in 1936, the credit union has not forgotten its educational roots. That is why its Foundation offered current Monmouth and Ocean County educators four classroom grants to use at their schools for the 2012-2013 school year.

“Education remains a guiding principal for our organization, and we’re delighted to help our local educators enhance their classroom experience,” noted First Financial President & CEO, Issa Stephan.

Stephan also noted that the Foundation committee had a difficult job of choosing just four winning teachers out of the numerous outstanding applications it received this year. “We received dozens of heartwarming essays from educators hoping to use the grant money to implement a variety of creative programs in their schools such as anti-bullying and character education, building a greenhouse on school grounds, integrating iPads, iPods, and laptops for educational use, and starting a classroom library to motivate and inspire students to read – to name a few,” said Stephan. “We wish we could have rewarded each and every one of our participants, and after extremely careful consideration we selected the four classrooms in which we felt the grant money would have the largest impact.”


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