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      Mercantile Bank granting wishes for local teachers

      Physical Education Teacher Nicholas Myers was awarded $250. He's using it to buy a Wii.

      One by one Quincy teachers walked up to a podium Wednesday morning, not to give out an award but to receive one.

      "Every child at our school is going to benefit from it," St. Peter School Physical Education Teacher Nicholas Myers said.

      It's all part of the Mercantile Bank's Banking on YOUth Grant Program. Eleven grants were give out to Gem City educators, totaling $3,000.

      "I received the Paul Ardnt Grant which is for physical education," Myers said.

      Myers is using his $250 grant to buy a Wii.

      "During the winter or when it's raining out we can't go outside so we have to have it in the classroom," he said. 'We do a lot of different things in the classroom but this will get us up and moving."

      Marci Keller is also using her money to get students moving but outside of the classroom. Every year she takes her third grade class to Hannibal to ride the riverboat and to see the Mark Twain Caves. Monroe Elementary PTA has been funding most of the field trip since budget cuts. This year they needed extra help to make it happen. The Mercantile grant filled the void.

      "It's a relief because now I know that the funding is secured and I know that my students will be able to have the opportunity," she said.

      "I know that teachers don't always have the funding or the necessary things in order to educate their students and it's great to be able to help them be creative and instrumental in their children's lives," YOUth grant co-chair Shannon Triplett said.

      Mercantile has granted more than $52,000 to local classrooms since the program started in 2000.

      "It's awesome to be able to say that we've helped the community schools, public and private with that amount of money," Triplett said. "We're investing in our teachers and hopefully it's two fold and they come back and invest in us."

      The real investment is in the students that will benefiting from the grant money.

      "To enable our students to have some outdoor experiences, some things that we're really doing in the classroom to life for them, this has been a perfect opportunity for us," Keller said.

      "I know they'll be excited," Myers said. "They'll be really excited at first and then what they're going to take away is being physically active when they really couldn't be when we're in the classroom."

      You can learn more about the Baking on YOUth Grant application process, here.