Stephanie Tom
Stephanie Tom

Kaylie Fougerousse, Hauser English teacher, and Stephanie Tom, Hauser social studies teacher, are recipients of a 2021 Lilly Teacher Creativity Grant. 

From the experience of applying for such a grant years ago to support equipment for Science Labs, I am aware of how time consuming writing such a grant can be, even during a school year without the coronavirus. Some applicants do not receive it; I did not. In retrospect, I should have added the component of taking students on field trips to see their experiments working in the real world.

In reviewing the grant document submitted by Kaylie and Stephanie, there is no way my request compared to the quality of their request. For the “Need For Renewal + Reflection” part, they share the challenges of how the coronavirus in 2020 “threw a curve ball” and resulted in the cancellation of their retreat and field trips and how they had to remove “all extraneous furniture and amenities” from their classrooms for social distancing, rooms once filled with a personal “coffee shop” atmosphere. Everything became virtual. The grant would be an opportunity “to enrich their experiences, re-energize their efforts in the classroom, and renew themselves with the visceral, in-person and very realness that nature provides.”

Kaylie stated:

“Stephanie and I are so grateful and so humbled. Our grant allows us to go on a hiking/photography trip this June starting in Valley of Fire State Park and ending in Yellowstone National Park. In between, we will travel to Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Arches, and the Grand Tetons.

"We plan to document the adventure, learn more about landscape photography, and read up on the indigenous history behind America's National Parks.

“When returning, we will initiate a photography club in honor of Sarah Taylor next school year. We plan on taking students to state parks in Indiana and cultivating their interests in photography to document history and tell stories!”

Kaylie has also served as the Hauser Intern Writer Manager for HSJ Online. In that capacity she has masterfully guided Hauser student writers Maylee Barriger, Leah Joyce, Chloe Kennedy, and Melanie Taylor while Ashlyn Martin, Sean Miller, and photographer, Theo Nichifor, were under the capable guidance of Rebekah Bryan who previously held the position.

When first meeting Kaylie and asking if she might be willing to be our Hauser Intern Writer Manager, I found out about some other interesting and unique experiences she had before coming to Hauser. She talked about completing her student teaching in Navajo Nation in Many Farms, Arizona in 2015 and then teaching at a secondary school in Southbourne, England through an Overseas Practicum in 2016.

Later, I asked if she might be interested in taking a part for a play I developed for the “The Well House,” a great book by Mark Van Voorhis and Ed Kugler, at WILLow LeaVes. She agreed and added her wonderful spirit to her radio role with another Hauser teacher, Mr. Mayer.

I know this experience will just add to her many other rich experiences as well as those of her students. Under “Vision for Renewal” for their grant request, Kaylie and Stephanie state they wish to “create a system that empowers the synergy of respect, appreciation, and relationship with land as it connects to the story of endurance, ambition, and drive” which they hope will “filter down” to their students.