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Hancock Whitney, GCCF Award 12 Leo Seal Teacher Grants for 2024

GULFPORT, Miss. (January 26, 2024) — Twelve of Mississippi’s most accomplished, creative teachers have received 2024 Leo W. Seal Innovative Teacher Grants for their commitment to educational excellence and to pay for original teaching projects designed to enrich students’ education with hands-on learning opportunities.

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Funded by Hancock Whitney and administered by the Gulf Coast Community Foundation (GCCF), the Seal grants recognize exceptional dedication to teaching and fund teaching proposals that enhance students’ educational experiences and support state curriculum at K-12 schools in the eight Mississippi counties Hancock Whitney serves—Forrest, Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, Jefferson Davis, Lamar, Madison, and Pearl River.

Teachers earning one-time Seal grants for 2024 are Tracy Applewhite Broome, Hope Academy—Florence Gardens; Wendy DeAnn Holland, Anniston Avenue Elementary School; Kaley Hudson, Biloxi Junior High School; Georganne Kinney, Hancock Middle School; Vanessa A. McKee, Ocean Springs Upper Elementary School; Dr. Shelby Miller, Singing River Academy; Dr. Heather Montgomery, Cherokee Elementary School; Debbie Anglada Powell, Popps Ferry Elementary School; Stephanie Stanley, Lyman Elementary School; Cindy Desire Steven-Pheal, Oak Grove Middle School; Jillian Strong, Hancock High School; and Lacey Vitalec, Hancock High School.

“Hancock Whitney was founded to help people achieve their goals and dreams. We come to work every day to help create opportunities for people and the communities we serve. Establishing and funding the Leo Seal Innovative Teacher Grants program help encourage and celebrate educational excellence among outstanding teachers who are preparing young people with knowledge and experience to pursue and accomplish dreams for the future. We’re honored to join with the Gulf Coast Community Foundation in congratulating and recognizing the 2024 Seal grant recipients,” said Hancock Whitney President and CEO John M. Hairston.

Each Seal grant recipient receives up to $2,000 to activate their award-winning teaching initiative at their school. The 2024 grant recipients share insights about their commitment to teaching at https://www.hancockwhitney.com/hubfs/HW-CorpComm-Videos/CC-MISC/2024-Seal-Innovative-Teachers.mp4  


More about the Seal Grants

Hancock Whitney established the Leo W. Seal Innovative Teacher Grants in 1994 as a permanent endowment of the Gulf Coast Community Foundation Pat Santucci Friends of Public Education Program. GCCF and Hancock Whitney awarded the first grants in 1996. GCCF manages the grants and selection of winners by an independent committee not affiliated with Hancock Whitney.

Additionally, the program pays tribute to the legacies of the late Leo W. Seal, Sr., Hancock Whitney’s president from 1932 to 1963, and his son, the late Leo W. Seal, Jr., the company’s chief executive for 45 years. During their lives, both men championed countless educational and economic growth opportunities across the Gulf Coast.

Hancock Whitney and GCCF will announce availability of online applications for 2025 grants this summer.