WASHINGTON A grant for $99,425 was awarded to the University of Texas-Pan American program Community Historical Archaeology Project with Schools (C.H.A.P.S.) by the National Endowment for the Humanities, according to Congressman Ruben Hinojosa.

"The C.H.A.P.S. program offers students hands on lessons about their environment and culture," said U.S. Rep. Hinojosa. "I congratulated everyone involved in keeping this innovative program that also teaches the importance of preserving and protecting our land and other resources."

The C.H.A.P.S. program was established in 2009 to create archaeologically and historically literate citizens who are aware of their local cultural and natural history and of its importance to the future of the Rio Grande Valley.

The program helps local school districts develop a K-12 curriculum to prepare students for future enrollment in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields.

C.H.A.P.S. also teaches students the importance of stewardship to include site preservation, ethics and laws that affect our non-renewable local resources.

The funding will be used to begin a series of summer workshops for 7th and 8th grade teachers from the Rio Grande Valley School Districts to learn more about local history and how events of the world and the United States and Mexico shaped the Rio Grande Valley. Project Director Russell Skowronek says the lessons will run the gamut from pre history to modern times. The idea is to encourage students to have a deep appreciation of the region.