By Patricia Williams
The principal of Beaumont Magnet School Windy Clayton makes the most of opportunities that can provide additional resources to the students and staff she oversees. Clayton wanted a business sponsor for the school when she approached Shannon McCullock owner of the Farmers Insurance Agency at 4620 Old Broadway in North Knoxville. McCullock was more than happy to oblige.
Over the last 3-years, their partnership has netted $102,500 in resources and improvements to Beaumont Magnet Academy. Farmers Corporate Community Outreach Program includes funds or grants for families, teachers, veterans, schools, and environmental initiatives to name a few.
Beaumont 1st grade teacher Elizabeth McCue is the school’s most recent recipient of a Farmers grant. McCue was awarded a $2,500 grant.
“I am very honored and so excited, and I thank all the people that supported me. Beaumont is a really neat school. The kids and the staff are just amazing,” said McCue at a surprise presentation. McCue said she plans to use the funds to revamp our learning centers to make them a lot more fun and interactive so that the children can learn more.
In 2016, Beaumont teachers and staff spearheaded an effort to get a $100,000 Farmers Corporate Grant and won. With those funds, the playground was updated. Children in Beaumont’s Aftercare Program, that is open until 6 pm, also enjoy the new play area.
“The community benefits as a whole,” said Principal Clayton. “It’s not just our kids, it’s the entire community. When you start locking people out of an area and close off the school, we separate ourselves from those we serve – which is our community.”
“When I come to work on Sundays I love it when kids are on our campus. And during the summers we open up this beautiful bright colorful greenspace and offer bottled water, and we do popsicles on the playground. Everybody is really vested in it,” said Clayton.
The playground features an outdoor classroom, a musical garden with instruments and chimes to play, a performance stage, games, and paintings. A drainage area was made into a serene garden area.
“It’s beautiful, absolutely stunning,” said McCullock. This was the first visit to the new playground he was instrumental in getting for the school as he could not attend the 2018 grand opening.
“It warms my heart. This takes me back to my childhood. As a kid, I grew up on a playground like this. That is where we hung out,” said McCullock. “They are at a school playing, that’s a great thing. There are so many other places they could be with all the (negative) influences in the world and in society. Playing on the school grounds, this is what I call love right here.”
McCullock noted that there is something that everybody can connect to. A stage for performances and dance; nobody is left out, everybody fits somewhere on this playground. For more information on Farmers Community Outreach Programs visit; www.farmers.com/corporate-giving/
Beaumont Magnet Academy is a Knox County Schools fine arts and honors magnet school for kindergarten through fifth-grade students from across Knox County.