Downers Grove Junior Woman's Club Awards Education Grants to Four Deserving District 58 Teachers

June 18, 2019 - Last week, the Downers Grove Junior Woman’s Club Education Committee surprised four deserving District 58 teachers with education grants totaling over $2000.  District 58 educators were invited to apply for the grants and DGJWC received 35 inspiring applications.

“All of the applicants would have been most worthy of one of the grants.  We just wish we had funding to 'grant' all of the applicants' scholarship and resource requests,” said Valerie Hardy, DGJWC Education Committee Co-Chair and Grants Coordinator.  “The DGJWC enthusiastically awarded four grants to highly deserving applicants. Each grant awarded aligns well with some of the current key educational pillars of our organization: art, literacy, and social-emotional learning.”

The winning 2019 DGJWC applicants are:

  • Caroline Forbes (Resource Teacher, Henry Puffer) - earned a grant to build an interactive sensory hallway for students.

  • Leslie Hesterman (Librarian, Hillcrest) - earned a grant that will help her attend the American Association of School Librarians conference in November. She hopes the conference will build her literacy and reading instruction skills. When she returns, she intends to share her learning with her colleagues to benefit all Hillcrest students.

  • Michael Bergmeier (Art Teacher, Herrick) - earned a grant for new art supplies at both Herrick and O’Neill Middle Schools.

  • Ashley Bidlencik (6th Grade Teacher, Kingsley) - earned a grant to attend a social-emotional learning professional development conference. As a member of District 58’s Social-Emotional Learning Committee, she plans to share her learning from the conference with the committee to help students at both Kingsley and in the entire school district.

The Downers Grove Junior Woman’s Club will be issuing another call for District 58 teacher grant applications next year and looks forward to supporting the visions and professional development interests of additional teachers within the District.

For more information about the Downers Grove Junior Woman’s Club, visit   

Samantha Figueroa