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Kansas Tourism Grant to Benefit National Memorial to Fallen Educators

Landscape photo with limestone wall in foreground and schoolhouse in background.

Kansas Tourism has announced that The National Teachers Hall of Fame will receive one of their “big giant checks” as an Attraction Development Grant Award recipient for 2023. Carrie Doud, fiscal and grant manager of Kansas Tourism, will be in Emporia between 10 and 10:30 a.m. Nov. 16, to present the check for $16,000 to the staff and board of trustees. The grant is designed to enhance an existing state attraction, and the funding will be directed toward advertising and additions to the National Memorial to Fallen Educators.

Located at 18th Avenue and Merchant Street on the ESU campus, the Memorial features three granite tablets etched with the names of 186 educators who have lost their lives “in the line of duty.” The inspiration for the memorial was the Sandy Hook tragedy in December 2012. Money was raised across the country, and the original memorial was dedicated in June 2014, with two granite tablets and 114 names. In April 2018, through the work of U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran and then-Rep. Roger Marshall, the memorial was deisgnated as the first and only national memorial in the state of Kansas.

Efforts have continued to expand the story of the memorial nationwide. Each year in June, visitors attend the rededication ceremony as, sadly, new names are added. The mantra “No more names” is repeated each year, but that has not stopped the growing list of educators taken too soon while simply doing what they loved — working with America’s schoolchildren.

The tourism grant will help to share the stories, publicize this as a destination trip for travelers and enhance the visitors’ ability to learn more about the educators listed.

Carol Strickland, NTHF emeritus director, said that this grant will definitely enhance the Hall of Fame’s ability to reach more people who probably have never heard of the Hall of Fame or the Memorial.

“Hopefully, this will provide an open invitation for people across the country to visit Emporia, aptly nicknamed ‘Teacher Town, USA’ and to realize what an important piece of history this memorial is,” she said. “We appreciate Kansas Tourism’s recognition of what we are doing here and welcome their help in sharing that with the state and nation.”