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Originally published Saturday, December 31, 2011 at 6:31 PM

Teacher uses million-dollar prize to build school

When a kindergarten teacher wins $1 million, what does she do with it? Wenatchee's Amy Ferrell, winner of Macy's Million Dollar Makeover, and her husband, Chester, also a teacher, are converting two-thirds of the three-bay garage in their new home into a Leonardo da Vinci-inspired, outside-the-box center for after-school and summer studies.

The Wenatchee World

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WENATCHEE — When a kindergarten teacher wins $1 million, what does she do with it? If she's Amy Ferrell, she keeps right on teaching.

Ferrell, winner of Macy's Million Dollar Makeover in May, has purchased a new, larger home with her husband, Chester, and their five children.

The Ferrells — Chester's a teacher, too — are converting two-thirds of their new three-bay garage into a Leonardo da Vinci-inspired, outside-the-box center for after-school and summer studies.

Their curriculum will center on art, invention and creative thinking.

"We'll hopefully get kids to look for inspiration in the world, the way da Vinci did," said Amy Ferrell, when The World caught up with her recently. "We want to inspire kids to be thinkers."

Since beating contestants from all over the country for the cash, travel and a full wardrobe for each member of the family, the Ferrells have ridden in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. They just returned from another of their prizes — a week's stay in Italy.

Launching the "Da Vincineers Studio" was a pledge she made during the contest.

She's taken a leave of absence from her teaching job at John Newbery Elementary School to make it happen.

"I really love teaching, but I'm really excited to be able to teach my way," she said.

The studio should be finished in February.

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