Creativity Spreads through SHS

PTSO gives grants to teachers for VikingHour 


Photo illustration by M. Beyer

Grants help teachers create learning opportunities, including SAT/ACT math prep and Hispanic cultural lessons.

Matthew Beyer, Student Life Editor

In May 2020, the Spartanburg High School PTSO announced that teachers could apply to receive grants for their clubs and different activities to be used during VikingHour. As VikingHour is delayed until second semester, teachers are spending the first semester preparing for the fun activities they will be able to do with students thanks to PTSO grants.   

Spanish teacher Neyda Mora will not be stopped by the delay of VikingHour. Mora has decided to use grant money to make a podcast called Un Buchito de Café, which is all about the Spanish language and culture. The podcast will be made in partnership with Spanish III Honors and Spanish Honors IV students. 

Mora is excited for the future of the Spanish-centered podcast. 

“Our new podcast will have episodes for a quick taste of Spanish studies to go. It will include culture, traditions, current events, colloquialisms and an introduction into different topics. I’m excited to share pieces of my heritage,” Mora said. 

Spanish IV student Ezra Anderson (11) is a  violinist and was asked by Mora to play Spanish music for the podcast. Anderson enjoys learning about Spanish and embracing Spanish culture while he plays on his violin. 

“I think sharing Spanish music is important because Hispanic composers are very underrepresented in the world of classical music,” Anderson said. “Through music, we can get a taste of the native cultures of countries like Spain, Mexico, Cuba, Uruguay- and not even have to get on a plane. That’s the magic of music!” 

Through the podcast, Mora hopes to share, inspire and show others the beauty of the Spanish language.  For every podcast, Mora will have a guest to share their love of the Spanish language with others. 

Three other teachers were fortunate enough to also get a grant from the PTSO: math teachers Tracy Petty, Mary Margaret Crocker and Lisa Donahoo. They plan on using the money from their grants to better prepare students for the math portion on the SAT and ACT. Grant money was used to buy SAT and ACT test material for students to work on during VikingHour. These teachers realize that students with after school activities, such as sports or jobs, do not have ample time to study for the SAT and ACT and should be able to have time in school to prepare for these assessments. 

Honors Pre-Calculus and Algebra II teacher Tracy Petty looks forward to helping students prepare for the ACT and SAT math sections. 

“Mrs. Donahoo, Mrs. Crocker and I will be offering SAT/ACT assistance during Viking Hour,” Petty said. “We felt like some students would have their own materials. I wrote the grant to have materials available for students who did not have access to test prep materials and for students who wanted to look at materials other than their own.” 

Spanish teacher Nedya Mora starts recording the third episode of Un Buchito de Café. (Photo by M.Beyer)