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Staff Spotlight: Clay Middle School Teacher Travels the World

Combining his passion for photography and traveling the world, Brian McGuckin (6th-grade social studies teacher at Clay Middle School) has been fortunate enough to have explored Europe twice, thanks to the Lilly Endowment Teacher Creativity Fellowship Program. The Teacher Creativity Fellowship Program is awarded to approximately 100 teachers in Indiana each year as a way to rejuvenate professionals to return energized and refreshed to teach the following year. After applying for seven years unsuccessfully, his wish first came true as a recipient in 2013. Themed “Why These Old Things Matter,” McGuckin traveled around Europe interviewing people and taking photographs of places he saw in his textbooks and always dreamed of visiting in real life. The Eiffel Tower, Acropolis, Alps, Colosseum, and Duomo are just a few. 



The grant can be awarded to individuals up to twice in their career. With this newly discovered wanderlust, 2022 brought about another successful proposal taking McGuckin to Iceland this past summer, where he spent three weeks living in a campervan and exploring the Ring Road, photographing the otherworldly landscapes that only Iceland could offer. The “Land of Fire and Ice” did not disappoint him as he met many welcoming locals and captured the geography as he saw it with an artistic eye.

Being awarded the Lilly Grant has genuinely changed his personal and professional life. The process is simple, with the requirements of a proposal no longer than five pages. If you are passionate about a project, McGuckin encourages everyone to apply. The deadline is October 3.