CHS Teacher Josh Whicker Selected for Lilly Endowment Teacher Creativity Fellowship Award

Charlestown High School would like to congratulate Mr. Josh Whicker, government /economics and computer science teacher, for being one of 101 Indiana Educators selected for the Lilly Endowment Honors Teacher Creativity Fellowship!

Created in 1987, the Endowment’s Teacher Creativity Fellowship Program gives Indiana’s K-12 educators working in public and private schools the encouragement and financial support to renew their commitment to the education profession. Through the Lilly Endowment Teacher Creativity Fellowships, 101 educators from across Indiana will receive grants so they can renew their own curiosity and deepen personal and professional development. Each fellow will receive a grant of up to $12,000 to fund personally and professionally meaningful activities. These educators work in a variety of schools, including traditional public schools, charter schools and private schools (both religiously affiliated and independent). The schools are in cities and towns and in suburban and rural communities throughout the state.

During this year’s application cycle, many educators imagined renewal experiences that are close to home or involve no travel because of the COVID-19 pandemic.  There are fellows who will spend time exploring hobbies and interests such as cycling, music and wellness practices while staying home or with minimal travel.

Travel across North America, Latin America, Africa, Europe and Asia is part of the proposed renewal activities for many of the 2021 fellows. Some fellows are planning to pursue creative interests in the arts and humanities by taking art classes, exploring historic events and time periods, or participating in creative writing retreats in varied locations across the United States. Some will travel internationally to the homelands of their ancestors and of cultures that have meaning to them. And some educators will incorporate travel as they dive deeply into distinctive hobbies and interests through projects involving cooking, mindfulness practices such as yoga, or exploration of marine life, archeology and architecture.

“We are truly impressed by the remarkable projects these educators have designed that promise to restore them, both personally and professionally,” said Ted Maple, the Endowment’s vice president for education. “During an extraordinary year in which teachers, principals and other K-12 educators have faced immense pressures because of the pandemic, meaningful renewal experiences take on an added value as these men and women seek renewal and a rejuvenated, greater commitment to their students and to the education profession.”

Recognizing, the fluid nature of travel restrictions during the pandemic and to enable fellows the flexibility to travel safely, the Endowment is extending the timeframe that fellows have to complete their renewal experiences. They will have until May 2023 to conclude activities being funded with 2021 grants.

Including the 2021 class, more than 3,200 Indiana educators have received grants since the Teacher Creativity Fellowship Program began in 1987.  The Endowment selected the 2021 fellows from a competitive pool of applicants. The Teacher Creativity Fellowship Program is one of five programs through which the Endowment makes grants to fund renewal experiences for people working in human services and in the arts in the central Indiana and for clergy who pastor churches in Indiana and across the nation.

Mr. Whicker’s proposal–“Mountains, Motors, Lakes, and Rotors: In High-definition” – focuses on exploring the natural wonders of northern Idaho while learning video production from one of YouTube’s brightest new stars.  This will allow him to bring back tips for his computer science classes to produce quality video as well as assist fellow educators with virtual teaching. When asked about his selection, Mr. Whicker responded: “It is an honor to receive this so I am happy to head out and learn from Edwin Olding and bring all that I learn back to Charlestown.”


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