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Major Gift Fuels Education Program At National Medal Of Honor Heritage Center

Major Gift Fuels Education Program At National Medal Of Honor Heritage Center

The Coolidge National Medal of Honor Heritage Center announces General B.B. Bell has made a major gift of $50,000 in honor of his late wife, Mrs. Katie Fields Bell.

The Coolidge National Medal of Honor Heritage Center announces General B.B. Bell has made a major gift of $50,000 in honor of his late wife, Mrs. Katie Fields Bell. Throughout her life, Mrs. Bell was a passionate advocate for education, and the gift will directly support the Heritage Center’s Teacher Fellowship Program. This new program engages local and regional classroom teachers in ways that help the Heritage Center create instructional materials and lesson plans, making the Heritage Center more accessible to teachers and students of all grade levels.

“General Bell has been a tremendous supporter of the Heritage Center well before our opening in 2020,”s aid David Currey, executive director of the National Medal of Honor Heritage Center. “He continues to set an example for all of us to follow in our obligations to the next generation of Americans. It goes without saying that his generous contribution has elevated our educational programs to new heights. Thanks to his generous gift, educators from across the region will benefit from this program as we continue to grow our teacher development initiatives beyond the Southeast and into other parts of the country.”

The Center’s Teacher Fellowship Program launched in 2023 with the aim of exposing educators to the Medal of Honor, the six character values associated with the medal, and the stories of recipients serving in various conflicts throughout the nation’s history in an effort to create instructional materials aligned with state standards.

“Chattanooga is the birthplace of the Medal of Honor, and it’s exciting to see this program grow each year thanks to people like General Bell,” said Maranda Wilkinson, director of education at the Coolidge National Medal of Honor Heritage Center. “We see it as our duty to share these inspiring stories of ordinary individuals who, amid extraordinary circumstances, mustered the courage to take one more step forward, and then another and another.”

Ms. Wilkinson continued, “Not everyone will join the military and serve on the battlefield, but we each have our own personal battlefields we must navigate daily. Weaving Medal of Honor recipient stories of courage, commitment, integrity, sacrifice, citizenship and patriotism into our state standards-aligned lessons teachers can actually use ensures student access to examples of how those who came before them navigated extreme challenges and uncertainty.”

The Heritage Center expanded its 2024 Teacher Fellowship Program to include educators from across Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama, and the Center is delighted to announce its newest cohort of Fellows:

Amanda Stanford – Wolftever Creek Elementary
Bethany Norman – Westview Elementary
Maria Chattin – East Ridge Elementary
Erin Coggins – Sparkman High School
Jennifer Lewis – North Lake Elementary
Amanda Thurmond – Saint Jude School
Jessica Holloway – Hamilton County Schools
Emily Hurst – Hamilton County Schools
Emily Ezell – Cowan Elementary
Brittany Haynes – Rivermont Elementary
Bailee McDonald – Lookout Mountain Elementary
Ricky McEvoy – Thrasher Elementary
Abby Klett – East Hamilton Middle
Mary Sutherland – Ooltewah Elementary
Tracy Sodergren – Ringgold Middle
Becky Dubose – Chattanooga School for the Liberal Arts
Melanie Collins – Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy
Bekah Reed – Hamilton County Schools
Bruce Stubblefield – Hamilton County Schools.

“The applicant pool for this year’s Fellowship included a wide range of accomplished educators, and the selection process was challenging,” said Ms. Wilkinson. “Among this year’s cohort is a 2018 Alabama History Teacher of the Year, a 2018 VFW National Teacher of the Year, and a 2022 EdTech Leadership Award winner in addition to other recognitions. We are thrilled to have educators with backgrounds in English Language Arts, Theater, STEM, and Social Studies this year. The stories of Medal of Honor recipients should not be confined to the Social Studies classroom, and including educators from multiple content areas and grade levels in our program increases the chances of reaching students with varying interests and across age ranges.”

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