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Robotics instructor Regan Priest shows off one of his student’s creations. / May 19, 2014
Talk about surprises: Regan Priest, robotics teacher at Halifax County Middle School, was on the receiving end of unexpected news Friday that his program had netted a $4,989 grant from CenturyLink.

Representatives of the telecommuncations company joined Superintendent of Schools Merle Herndon, School Board chairman Kim Farson and vice chairman Dick Stoneman, ED-6 trustee Fay Satterfield and HCMS Principal Faye Bruce for the presentation of a big cardboard mock check for $4,989.

“We congratulate Regan Priest on his part in providing innovative technology in the classroom that enhances the learning experience for students in his school,” said Marcus Hill, CenturyLink general manager for Virginia. “It is exciting to see a teacher so passionate about preparing his students for their future and finding creative ways to use technology in the classroom.”

Priest was one of eight teachers across the state to win CenturyLink’s Clarke M. Williams Foundation’s Teachers and Technology grants.

The program, offered by CenturyLink since 2008, awards grants to schools in its service area where teachers have developed specific plans to implement technology in their classrooms.

More than 100 teachers applied for this year’s round of grants, with the eight winners selected by a review committee comprised of community leaders and a CenturyLink representative.

With a boyish grin wiped across his face, Regan was quick to credit Audrey Davidson, executive director of the Halifax Education Foundation, for helping him complete the grant application.

Surrounded by green balloons in the hue of CenturyLink’s corporate logo, Priest picked up one of the robots made by his students and pronounced that he “has the best job in the world. I get to see my students enjoy learning all the while we are doing serious study.” His award-winning project, entitled “Rocking with Robotics,” gives students the freedom to design, engineer and de-bug their own robot projects and control how they work using computers and cell phones.

The grant funds will be used to purchase more equipment for the middle school robotics program.

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