Learning grants awarded in memory of Maggie and Amos

Mother and 3-year-old died in 2016 fire

Margaret “Maggie” (Rosko) Meyer and Amos Meyer

CHANA — A record-breaking number of requests were received this year for The Maggie & Amos Foundation’s “Fall” in Love Learning Grants.

A total of $8,700 was awarded to 22 educators in eight school districts. The maximum grant amount was $500.

There were a record number of applicants and number of projects funded, said Megan Dettman, one of The Maggie & Amos Foundation’s main coordinators.

“That was really cool, and we were able to give to a lot of different schools,” she said.

The foundation is a 501(c)(3) established by friends and coworkers of Margaret “Maggie” (Rosko) Meyer who died in a house fire Oct. 19, 2016, in Byron, along with her 3-year-old son, Amos Meyer. Maggie was a school teacher at the Chana Education Center at the time of her death.

Duane C. Meyer, Maggie’s ex-husband and Amos’ father, is charged with their murders and arson. His case is pending in Ogle County court.

The foundation’s work and the grants keep Maggie and Amos’ memories alive, Dettman said.

When people first hear about The Maggie & Amos Foundation, they often think about the negativity of their deaths and the situation as a whole, Dettman said.

“It is a negative situation, but then we can say, ‘No, there’s so much good stuff that goes with it,” she said. “We try to really embody what Maggie represented, and with Amos as well, because she was always trying to make learning fun for him, even at 3.”

This is the sixth year The Maggie & Amos Foundation has offered the grants. Funding comes from the Infinity Run, an annual fundraiser the foundation hosts.

The 2023 Infinity Run is set for June 10 at Chana Education Center, Dettman said.

Here are this year’s award recipients and how they plan to spend the funds:

Forrestville Valley School District

• Kristen Priewe: reading and vocabulary games for students.

• Lynnette Frederick: materials to create a March Madness project for students to analyze data based on the college basketball championships.

• Maria Tuten: the Everyday Speech Social Emotional Learning curriculum for preschool to fifth grade students to develop self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision-making.

Rochelle Elementary District

• Alyssa Hansen: hands-on learning materials to make learning more engaging and fun for students.

• Chelsey Stolte: a sturdy workbench table for students to allow for safe flexible seating in her science classroom.

• Jennifer Hunley: materials and tools to create a calming corner for students to regain emotional and physical control to promote mindfulness, breathing and reflection.

• Nicole Tobler: games to promote learning and play in her kindergarten classroom.

• Becky Cox: tools to help support students who are in need of active sensory input to increase self-regulation in the classroom setting.

Amboy School District

• Emily Rose: items to put in sensory baskets to help students relieve stress in class.

• Jamie Rodriguez: the Qball Throwable Microphone to add excitement to classroom presentations and student demonstrations.

Polo Community School District

• Emily Ditzler: dry erase boards for students to collaborate and group solve in her math class.

• Alec Wetzell: a new grinding machine for the agriculture and industrial technology program at PCHS.

Ashton-Franklin Center CUSD

• Amanda Chapman: create calm kits for each classroom in her elementary building to aide in student emotional regulation.

• Michelle Mairs: cardio drumming equipment for her students in physical education to not only add to the PE program, but music education, as well.

Rochelle Township High School

• Ann Marie Jinkins: support her classroom project, HubsRead, a RTHS student-created podcast in which students write and record personal interviews, funny game shows and round-table book discussions.

• Aby Guerrero: books in Spanish to provide reading items for students with a primary language of Spanish.

• Sidney Lippens: assistive technology for students with special education needs to support easier access to education in the classroom.

Ogle County Educational Cooperative

• Abigail Baker: augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices to support the speech and language needs of students with special education services.

• Amy Waddle: books that support the classroom’s Behavior Basics program that helps students with special education needs learn appropriate social skills in a variety of settings.

Oregon School District

• Cynthia Kilmer: items and tools for 25 sensory bins to disperse among the kindergarten classrooms at Oregon Elementary School to support learning through tactile play.

• Amy Tomlinson: materials to support art and fine motor activities in the classroom to enhance letter awareness and learning, material exploration and fine motor development.

• Brandi Costa: materials needed to start an indoor garden and worm composter with an aquarium system to offer real-world, hands-on science and math lessons.

Alexa Zoellner

Alexa Zoellner

Alexa Zoellner reports on Lee, Ogle and Whiteside counties for Shaw Media out of the Dixon office. Previously, she worked for the Record-Eagle in Traverse City, Michigan, and the Daily Jefferson County Union in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin.