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3 CPHS Teachers Receive Lilly Grants


Crown Point Community School Corporation is proud to announce that three Crown Point High School teachers are recipients of the 2024 Lilly Endowment Teacher Creativity Fellowship Program (TCFP). Ryan Collier, Matthew Barno, and Eric Beard will each receive a grant of up to $15,000 to support a personal project of exploration and renewal.

According to their website, TCFP supports Indiana educators by providing resources for them to take time for meaningful renewal. The Endowment believes that through new experiences, exploration and reflection educators can generate renewed energy in their careers, innovative approaches to teaching and educational leadership, and thoughtful ways to encourage students’ creative thinking.

Eric Beard will spend three weeks on the coast of northern California and Oregon to study literature, engage in mindfulness activities, and explore nature. The experience will include a five-day yoga and meditation retreat in Big Sur, California, before traveling up the west coast. Additionally, Beard will research two influential authors that first inspired him to teach English—Jack Kerouac and Ken Kesey. This includes seeing the Ken Kesey collection housed at the University of Oregon and a San Francisco museum dedicated to Kerouac's work along with other Beat writers. 

Matthew Barno’s trip focuses on traveling the great roads of the past and present. Barno will travel Route 66 all the way to Santa Monica, California. During these two weeks, he will stop at historic landmarks related to Route 66 as well as his own historical interests. He also hopes to try regional cuisines and dine at a few classic diners while stopping at as many Route 66 tourist attractions as possible. For the second leg of the trip, he will travel the Pacific Coastal Highway and stop at various locations related to surfing history, American history, or regional areas of interest. For the final leg, he will make his way home from Seattle, stopping at major national parks and national landmarks. The entire trip will take a little over a month to complete and he plans to document it through photography.

Ryan Collier will begin his project with a ten day trip to Wyoming to experience life on a working cattle ranch, including an overnight cattle drive. Over the 2024-25 winter break, he will experience a weeklong dog-sledding adventure in Minnesota, learning to snow-shoe and cross-country ski. In March of 2025, he will learn to snorkel while visiting the Florida Keys. As a culmination of these experiences, he will take a short backpacking trip through the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan during the summer of 2025 to process his experiences and reflect on the journaling that he will have done throughout. Collier says the trip will help teach him to find peace in unfamiliar environments, better connecting with students who may have their own struggles.

Crown Point High School is located in Crown Point, Indiana and serves approximately 3,000 students in grades 9-12 from the communities of Cedar Lake, Crown Point, and Winfield.