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Utility helps fund classroom projects
RHHS butterflygardenweb
Coastal EMC CEO Whit Hollowell Jr. helps students and faculty at Richmond Hill High School celebrate after he presented a check for $1,800 to fund William Evans Wings of Wonder butterfly garden. - photo by Photo provided.

Last week, an entourage of Coastal Electric Cooperative employees, camera crews and school administrators burst into 12 area classrooms with surprises.

Teachers in Bryan, Liberty and McIntosh counties received up to $2,000 each to fund Bright Ideas projects they had submitted to Coastal in August.

The projects ranged from outdoor learning spaces to hands-on robotics to life skills training.

“They all push the envelope of engaging education and take student learning to the next level,” Coastal’s vice president for communications Mark Bolton said.

Funding for the Bright Ideas grants comes from Coastal EMC members who allow their electric bills to be rounded up to the next dollar through Operation Round Up. Those nickels and dimes are pooled and distributed by the Coastal Electric Cooperative Foundation to benefit the community.

Since the Bright Ideas program’s inception in 2002, more than $265,000 has been awarded to area teachers who came up with projects and then applied.

This year’s Bryan County winners were:

Richmond Hill Middle School

Dana Letson, “Making Extended Learning Time ‘STEM’tastic!” Accepted by Raven Clark

Robert Hodgdon, “Ecological Survey Kit”

Patrick Welch, “Sphero SPRK”

Richmond Hill High School

William Evans, Wings of Wonder (butterfly garden).

McAllister Elementary School

Paige Nobles, “Can We Build It? Yes, We Can!”

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