Utica Community Schools music teacher receives grant to buy instruments

By: Kara Szymanski | C&G Newspapers | Published February 25, 2021

 Havel Elementary School music education teacher Ann Murray, of Clinton Township, was chosen by State Farm to  receive a $2,500 grant.

Havel Elementary School music education teacher Ann Murray, of Clinton Township, was chosen by State Farm to receive a $2,500 grant.

Photo provided by Ann Murray


STERLING HEIGHTS — A Utica Community Schools teacher is putting funds to good use after being chosen among 40 teachers across Michigan to receive a grant to implement their innovative ideas in their classrooms.

Havel Elementary School music education teacher Ann Murray, of Clinton Township, was chosen by State Farm to receive the grant for her music classroom.

State Farm is providing all 40 teachers across Michigan with a $2,500 grant. Each of their schools will receive the $2,500 — a total of $100,000 to Michigan classrooms.

Teachers in Michigan were asked to submit their innovative teaching ideas the week of Jan. 11 for an opportunity to win the State Farm Teacher Assist grants. Two hundred submissions were accepted and reviewed, and Murray was one of the picks.

Annette Martinez, State Farm senior vice president, said the grant is a part of building a connection with communities.

“As a company, we have a long history of working with teachers, educators and students across the country. We are heartened by the immense response received from teachers sharing their solutions to overcoming challenges. Congratulations to the winners. We are proud to support you and help you reach your goals. Thanks again, to all the teachers that submitted their ideas. You are making our neighborhoods safer, stronger and better educated,” said Martinez.

Kristi Tepper, the principal at Havel Elementary School in Sterling Heights, said this grant gives Murray an opportunity to expand her students’ engagement in music.

“Mrs. Murray’s passion for music education shines through in all she does for her students, and she is always looking for ways to engage and excite them,” said Tepper.

Murray said the awarded grant money will be used to purchase a variety of musical instruments.

“I will be able to purchase a classroom set of ukuleles, enabling Havel students to participate in activities that promote note reading skills, chord accompaniments and performance opportunities. In addition to the ukuleles, the money will be used to purchase African drums to enhance the Havel Elementary Drumming Ensemble, as well as make it possible for students to play the drums together during music class. Other percussive instruments will be purchased for the students to use while performing and composing their own music, as well as a large collection of recorders for student individual use,” she said.

Murray said she was directed to the opportunity for the grant by a State Farm agent who is her father-in-law.

“The State Farm Teacher Assist Program was brought to my attention by State Farm agent Rick Murray. He sent me the link to check out and encouraged me to apply,” said Murray. Rick Murray did not have a role in the grant selection process.

Ann Murray was very excited to have been chosen as one of the teachers to receive this special grant for her classroom.

“It is very exciting. I am very excited to have been selected for the State Farm Teacher Assist Program. State Farm is generously donating money to Havel Elementary to support the music program and provide students with instruments to be used in the classroom setting. These instruments provide so many wonderful opportunities for the students to experience music through listening, performing and creating,” said Murray.

The full list of winners can be found at newsroom.statefarm.com/mi-teacher-assist.