Shelia Ambrosio, a teacher at Flushing's St. Kevin School, was picked from a group of 711 applicants by to be a recipient of the Airborne Teacher Trust Fund Grant last month. Ambrosio said she will use the money to purchase materials for her eighth-grade students to construct a mural in their outdoor recess area. "I am envisioning a multi-cultural theme that will encourage tolerance and understanding," said Ambrosio. "The final concept will be developed by the students, who will work in teams to complete specific areas of the mural." In addition to being a vehicle for furthering cultural understanding, Ambrosio said she also plans to incorporate lessons on the history of mural-making as a significant cultural medium in art. Created by Airborne Inc., maker of a popular herbal immune-boosting formula, the Airborne Teacher Trust Fund issues grants annually ranging from $200 to $10,000. Airborne's creator Victoria Knight-McDowell, a former second-grade school teacher herself, said she developed the Airborne Teacher Trust Fund to supplement art and music programs, which often get hit by funding cuts more regularly than other subjects. "With budgets becoming tighter each year, schools are faced with the difficult decision of having to cut vital programs," Knight-McDowell said. "The Airborne Teacher Trust Fund is meant to fill the gap and keep our youth engaged and inspired, so they can live full and rewarding lives."Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e-mail at Sstirling@
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