Local high school teacher a finalist for $100,000 grant


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A couple of years ago here, we examined a then-new (and unconventional) aquaponics operation aimed at getting more local food into area chefs' hands. 

Now, the closed-loop water system model is underway with a new challenge locally — specifically winning Farmers Insurance's Dream Big Teacher Challenge.

Sierra High School teacher Christopher Marro has been announced as one of 15 finalists for a $100,000 grant. Read the full release below to find out how he intends to use the funds should he emerge from community voting victorious:

Farmers Insurance® announced today that Christopher Marro of Sierra High School in Colorado Springs has been named a finalist as part of the company’s Thank America’s Teachers® Dream Big Teacher Challenge®, awarding teachers for their ideas to help create a lasting and positive impact on their classrooms, schools, and communities.
Local Farmers agent Kristyn Cline shared the news with Marro about being one of only 15 finalists in the running for one of six $100,000 Dream Big Teacher Challenge grants from Farmers.
Along with hundreds of other applicants, Marro’s proposal went through a competitive review process. His proposal to build an aquaponics greenhouse was selected to move on to the public voting phase of the Dream Big Teacher Challenge.
In partnership with local Colorado Springs non-profit, Abundant Harvest Aquaponics, Marrow plans to build a 4,000 square foot student-run aquaponics greenhouse. Aquaponics is a closed-looped system of aquaculture by which plants synergistically draw nutrients from fish waste while purifying water for the fish to grow. The aquaponics farm will engage students in chemistry, robotics, environmental science, agricultural economics, marketing, and entrepreneurship as well as provide interactive learning opportunities for special needs students.

“I am so excited to recognize the amazing work of Christopher Marro and share in his excitement of being one step closer to winning a $100,000 grant through Thank America's Teachers," said local Farmers agent Kristyn Cline. “Marro embodies everything we should celebrate in teachers on World Teacher’s Day and I urge the Colorado Springs community, the state of Colorado, and the entire nation to vote to help make Marro’s big dream a reality.”
Finalists’ proposals are currently available for public voting at ThankAmericasTeachers.com. The public can vote for any of the 15 teacher proposals, but a person can only vote once for the same teacher proposal per day. Up to six $100,000 educational grants will then be announced in December to those proposals with the highest vote count across the country.
Through Thank America’s Teachers, Farmers will give away more than $1 million to educators each year and the public will determine who receives the grants. Teachers are invited to submit proposals to win $2,500 and $100,000 grants at ThankAmericasTeachers.com. The public can show appreciation for educators by sending a heartfelt thank you note and voting for teachers’ proposals at ThankAmericasTeachers.com.


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