Samantha Gillespie

Communications provides an outlet for students to develop their social skills, critical thinking, and ability to bring innovation to the forefront. Whether it’s on the television, in the newspaper, or starting your own venture via podcasting, communications will give kids avenues to explore by way of their own creativity.

Samantha Gillespie, educator at San Antonio Preparatory School, wanted to continue building her production class and was seeking the funds to finance more equipment needed for the department to add more students to the program – and there are a lot that want to join! Thanks to Power of the Dollar® members, she was awarded a $1,000 grant for her “Panther Spotting” project, and went on to purchase new high-quality cameras, microphones, and more!

Students working with camera equipment

Students working with camera equipment

“We didn’t realize how many of our students would be interested in this program and it has been a much bigger impact on the school than we anticipated,” said Gillespie. “We have a waitlist of students wanting to join the class and we needed more equipment to accept additional students. The education grant has helped this program grow!”

The communications world is an ever-evolving field with endless potential, and for SA Prep’s program, the opportunity can extend further to more students. Working on anything from production to photography, the student-led news team can also use the equipment to better the quality of their morning show, podcast, and more. Outside of the chance to work in a non-traditional subject, it gives the students a platform to round-out their skillset and be more confident!

“It gives them that confidence that ‘I am capable of doing anything I want to do,’” said Cherry Griffin, educator spearheading the program. “What I like about my students is they are not afraid to express their thoughts and ideas. They really shape the program. All of the things that they’ve come up with, has been because of the students. They always come in really excited!”

Looking to help local schools, invest in your community, and support educators like Samantha Gillespie and Cherry Griffin? Make a tangible, positive impact by joining the collective giving of our Power of the Dollar® membership. Learn more at, and together, we can create pathways that lead to better lives and stronger communities.