Abilene, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Have you heard of the STAR Grants? It’s a program within the Abilene Education Foundation which recognizes some stellar teachers in town in hopes of relieving some of the burden teachers face supplying their students with tools for success. Tuesday, two Abilene ISD elementary school teachers were honored for their dedication to their students.

Shelby Bridges teaches at Taylor Elementary School. She’s praised by her peers for always putting her students first.

“I’m a really big advocate of getting kids the support they need in school and make sure everyone has the things that they need,” said Bridges.

Bridges said she often spends her own money on supplies.

“The books, the things you see behind me, I purchased most of it with my own money,” explained Bridges.

Bridges applied to receive a Star Grant through the Abilene Education Foundation to help cover her classroom costs. Tuesday, she was surprised with a big check.

“I always appreciate getting funds from people who are willing to donate and help in my classroom because it’s a hard job and there is a lot of resources that we need,” added Bridges.

Heather Goodwin is a bilingual teacher at Ortiz Elementary School. She was Tuesday’s second grant recipients. She told KTAB/KRBC she buys books in her students’ native languages to help them understand the building blocks of their educations.

“Literacy in their native language first, to really hone those foundational skills so that those skills can transfer into their second language as they develop proficiency in their second language,” Goodwin explained.

Goodwin stressed the importance of representation that plays into her teaching and commitment to ‘equitable access,’ “This means the world to them to have books in their native language to read aloud,” explained Goodwin.

These teachers aren’t the only ones who will be able to benefit from these grants. 76 Star Grants were awardedm totaling nearly $80,000 and benefiting 120 Abilene ISD teachers.