Knoxville high school teacher receives $30,000 classroom technology makeover

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – A Knoxville teacher received a special surprise Monday: a $30,000 check for a classroom technology makeover.

The tears wouldn’t stop streaming down math teacher Rhea Carmon’s face as she was handed the check to make all the dreams for her classroom at Austin East Magnet High School come true.

“I never in a million years thought I was going to get the grant. I just was trying because I’m down here and we struggle all the time. I need more space and more options to get them to do these extreme problems I’m trying to do,” said Carmon.

“She’s like my mom at school. She’s built a relationship with every single one of her students,” said student Alexis Butler.

Excited and devoted students are already crunching numbers to see how the money will be used. Carmon says for years her classroom hasn’t been equipped to meet the goals of her students.

Requested it and requested it and requested it. And maintenance wouldn’t come. I was like, ‘Okay, I’m gonna try,'” said Carmon.

So she made a YouTube video to apply for a grant from Oak Ridge Associated Universities. ORAU’s goal is to infuse technology in to area classrooms.

“What we’ll do between now and August is work with Miss Carmon on what type of technology best suits her curriculum and best suits her classroom,” said Andy Page with ORAU.

“The plan is to cover all the way around the classroom with whiteboards. So all the the way around kids can follow a problem from beginning to end,” said Carmon.

She also wants Macbook and swivel chairs for the students.

“They’re amazing. They’re meant to learn. They want to be great. So I wanted to give them everything. This has made my whole year,” she said.

ORAU gave her $25,000 and UT gave her an additional $5,000.

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