San Mateo, CA, January 20, 2015 … “I am in a state of shock and euphoria,” said Karen Hipsher after the surprise announcement that she won a $2,500 Academic Award from California Casualty. Karen has taught in the Clark County School District since 2006 and is currently third-grade social studies and science instructor at C.C. Ronnow Elementary School in Las Vegas, Nevada, where 90 percent of the students qualify for free or reduced lunches.

“There are so many ways we can use the funds,” she said. “I hope to purchase laptops or iPads to help get our students up-to-speed with the new technology we now use for teaching and testing.”

Karen became a teacher later in life after her children had grown. “I love children and I get so much more from them than I give,” she said. She added that the many teachers in her family also influenced her to pursue the profession. Karen estimates that she spends $300 to $400 of her own money each year on classroom supplies and materials.

Karen is the sixth recipient of a California Casualty Academic Award. The program was created three years ago to help educators who routinely use hundreds of dollars of their own funds to pay for classroom supplies and other instructional materials. The school’s principal, Chris Popek, said the award couldn’t go to a nicer, more deserving person. “She’s the most helpful staff member with a great attitude, and she always has a smile.”

“We understand the extraordinary effort educators give to teach our children,” said California Casualty Vice President Mike McCormick. “This is just one of the meaningful ways we can say thank you for the important job they do.”

Applications for the next $2,500 California Casualty Academic Award are now being taken at CalCasAcademicAward. The deadline to apply is deadline March 13, 2015, with the next winner named in April.

Other programs that highlight California Casualty’s appreciation for educators include:

  • Thomas R. Brown Athletics Grant
  • Help Your Classroom $200 Grants
  • $7,500 School Lounge Makeover

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