The sounds of celebration filled the many halls of the Tuloso-Midway Independent School District last month as the Education Foundation Prize Patrol surprised educators with thousands of dollars in grants.

Donors, along with the district's administrative staff, visited the district's various campuses throughout the day on March 22 to present teachers with the grant awards, which varied from a few hundred dollars to about $5,000. Overall, more than $50,200 was awarded to 48 teachers in this year's Prize Patrol event, the most ever in the foundation's five-year history.

There were 27 grant applications received in this round of awards, foundation officials said, but only 20 were funded. Teachers are allowed to team up on a grant application, with the funds awarded divided up among the applicants if awarded.

"It was not an easy process for the Grant Review Committee," said Michael Chapa, committee chair. "There was a high level of creativity and innovation in each of the applications. There were simply more dollars requested than we had available for funding.

"We appreciate all the teachers who took the time to apply and congratulate the winners."

Teachers will be using the innovative teaching grants for various uses, including purchasing new Kindle e-readers for classrooms, along with other multimedia applications.

"This is really going to help our kids in a lot of ways," said high school librarian Debbie Van Zandt.

The next call for grant applications will be issued in September, foundation officials said. The Education Foundation has now awarded more than $228,000 in innovative teaching grants to TMISD educators since 2005.

Grant winners

PRIMARY SCHOOL: Karen Norskow, Trish Yaklin, Marina Samaniego, Debra Garcia, Denise Martinez, Sherry Schwirtlich, Gina Moore, Nelda Dyer, Tammy Rollins, Brandey Addison, Christy Solis, Esmeralda Cosio, Patricia Morales, Maria Castro, Alejandra Quaintanilla.

INTERMEDIATE SCHOOL: Victoria Gallimore, Kathy Druesedow, Karen Marquez, Kathy Crow, Donna Rodenberg, Claudia Garcia, Susan Cortez, Letha Gramlich, Tammy Smith, Sheila Jenkins, Susan Lefever, and Cheryl Selph.

MIDDLE SCHOOL: Marlene De Pau, Amy Ellison, Joe Green, Angela Steagall and Lisa McNair.

HIGH SCHOOL: Nora Martinez, Chris Schulz, Sandy Smee, Paul Startz, Celina Vargas, Adrian Vargas, Claudia Wells, John Maltais, Christine Kircher, Debbie VanZandt, Gayle Burnett, Sarah Moore, Stella Hatch, Manuel Hernandez, Adriana Lazar, and Awilda Maymi.