PHS Poultry Project Nets Grant

Thursday, May 29, 2014
With an appreciative class in the background, Skip Layne (front-left) presents the $5,000 CenturyLink grant check to PHS agriculture instructor Casey Simpson (right) for his "Don't Count Your Chicks" effort.

A special surprise check presentation was held Wednesday, May 21, at Piggott High School thanks to Centurylink, as a $5,000 grant was awarded to agriculture instructor Casey Simpson. The grant was awarded through the company's Clarke M. Williams Foundation's Teachers and Technology program to Simpson for his effort on a new poultry breeding program.

Making the presentation was CenturyLink Area Operations Manger Skip Layne, who surprised Simpson with the help of PHS Principal Barry DeHart and Counselor Amber Harrell.

With a full class of students gathered around in the PHS shop, Layne announced Simpson's "Don't Count Your Chickens" effort had earned the grant award.

Casey Simpson (center) shows off some of the chicks from his market broiler program to Skip Layne (left) of CenturyLink and PHS Principal Barry DeHart.

"I'm so proud to award this grant check to Casey for his program," Layne said in making the announcement. "I am also proud to note there were only four in the state of Arkansas, and three of them were in my region."

Layne noted other schools receiving grant awards in the state along with Piggott included England and Stuttgart, and a district in the northwest part of the state.

The local award was one of seven from Arkansas and Louisiana for the Clarke M. Williams Foundation Teachers and Technology grant effort, which has been offered since 2008. The program offers awards and grants to schools in CenturyLink's local service areas on behalf of teachers who have developed specific plans to innovatively implement technology in their classroom.

More than 30 teachers applied for the seven awards, and the winners were selected by a review committee comprised of community members and a CenturyLink representative. The funds are to be used by the winning teacher's school to purchase technology which would benefit the students.

Simpson's plan will teach students poultry production skills, along with marketing and management techniques, while integrating match and science skills.

"We first developed this last year to raise entries for the market broiler competition," Simpson said of the poultry breeding program. "We were able to raise the chicks to about four pounds in just a matter of weeks--just the size the processors want. It has been very successful."

Simpson also showed off some of the chicks being raised under the program, and explained how the funding will help fully implement the effort.

"We are very pleased to be a part of providing innovative technology in the classroom that enhances the learning experience for students in these schools," noted John Dreher, CenturyLink vice president and general manager for Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Oklahoma. "It is exciting to see teacher implement creative teaching techniques that assist students in hands-on learning."

The CenturyLink Clarke M. Williams Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to contributing to endeavors that improve the well-being and overall quality of life for people in communities served by the company. Named after CenturyLink's founder, Clarke M. Williams, the foundation is endowed to support community initiatives that encourage company employees to use their time, talents and resources to strengthen the communities in which they live and work.

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