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Coastal Electric awards $23,500 to teachers
Coastal Electric GW Carver
Students at Dr. George Washington Carver Elementary School celebrate one of Coastal Electric's 'Bright Ideas' grants that were awarded to teachers earlier this month. - photo by Photo provided by Coastal Electric

As the winds of Hurricane Matthew were spinning Oct. 4 and 5, Coastal Electric Cooperative and its Foundation were quickly making their rounds to award $23,500 in Bright Ideas grants to school teachers in Bryan, Liberty and McIntosh counties. The winning teachers were caught totally by surprise when the Bright Ideas Prize Patrol came to their classroom to present them with giant balloon bouquets, gifts and a presentation check. Winners in Bryan County were:

Katie Sriratanakoul of Dr. George Washington Carver Elementary School received $530.52 for her project Circuit Bugs. Science teachers will help each group of students choose conductive material from tape, thread or paint and apply them to clothes pins which connect a LED light to a battery. Next, they will use pipe cleaners to create their bugs and hold together their materials. Upon completion of the project, students will discuss and identify e-textiles industries and how flexible conductive materials and LED lights work with fabric and art.

Robert A. Hodgdon of Richmond Hill Middle School received $930.20 for his project Agricultural Research Garden. Hodgdon’s class will be a part of creating one of the largest school research gardens in our region. Students will conduct research on a number of parameters and will share data and information with community stakeholders online and through informational pamphlets. This native fruit orchard or “edible landscaping” will consist of fruit and berry plants such as the Southern Highbush Blueberry and Muscadine Grapes.

Christy Crowley of Dr. George Washington Carver Elementary School received $1,015.03 for her project Moving to Excellence. This project will promote increased physical activity throughout the school day with a fitness lab, implement a schoolwide classroom brain breaks program, and provide resources for indoor recess. The lab will consist of numerous stations focused on cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance, and flexibility. FitDeck exercise cards and fitness HotSpots will explain the exercises at each station. Active and Healthy Schools (AHS) classroom activity cards will be utilized for brain breaks and energizers during the school day. Indoor recess resources such as exercise videos and fitness board games will be used on days when the weather prevents students from going outside to play.

Dennis Moore of Richmond Hill Middle School received $1,268.98 for his project Self Sustainable Aquaponics System. Moore’s class will be using waste from fish to supply the nutrients needed to grow plants aquaponically. Students will learn about various methods of growing vegetables and herbs without soil, fish care, renewable energies, and designing systems. The project will be totally self-sustainable including the electricity which will be produced through solar power.

Catherine Warren of Richmond Hill Middle School received $1,231.00 for her project Weather. This project will include the installation of a real-time weather station on the school grounds in the outdoor energy learning center. Students will collect, interpret, analyze and draw conclusions about atmospheric conditions. Students will be able to make weather predictions and compare to historical data to depict trends and climate change. Through the schools broadcasting system, students will provide a weather segment during the morning production.

Tammy Luke of Richmond Hill Middle School received $1,094.67 for her project Art Lights. This project will focus on electricity in designs, and designer lamps will make an impact in local charities through profit after sales and giving a portion to charity. Students will create a sculptural plaster body cast to run a lamp kit through its core. Lamps will be auctioned off at the end of the school year and all proceeds will go toward the purchase of the following year’s lamp project supply purchase and excess will be donated to a local non-profit organization.

Lori Roberts of McAllister Elementary School received $1,683.00 for her project Sound Bright. This program is based on the belief that music encompasses all subjects: math, reading, language arts, history and science. Xylophones will be used as one of the tools to incorporate these subjects as students learn about pitch, sound waves, vibrations, as well as creating rhythms to rhyme and reading.

Since the program’s inception in 2002, more than $245,000 has been awarded to local teachers. The grants give teachers the power to put their creative teaching ideas into action. Applications are accepted from teachers instructing students in grades K-12.

Bright Ideas is made possible in part thru the voluntary donations of the Cooperative's members who participate in Operation Round Up®— whereby members allow their electric bills to be rounded up to the nearest whole dollar. Those nickels and dimes each month are turned over to The Coastal Electric Cooperative Foundation which oversees the fund. The Foundation uses the money to assist with food, health, shelter, safety and educational needs within the community.

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