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Coastal EMC rewards teachers' bright ideas
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Richmond Hill High School science teacher Jay Trawick, back row center, gives a thumbs-up with the help of some students and Coastal Electric Cooperative CEO Whit Hollowell on Wednesday after receiving nearly $1,800 in funds from the electric co-ops Bright Ideas educational grant program. - photo by Provided

MIDWAY — Coastal Electric Cooperative and its foundation awarded more than $22,000 in Bright Ideas grants Wednesday and Thursday to school teachers in Bryan, Liberty and McIntosh counties — with more than $9,000 going to teachers in Richmond Hill.
The winning teachers were caught by surprise when the Bright Ideas Prize Team visited their classrooms to present them with a giant balloon bouquet, gifts and a big check.
The Bright Ideas educational grant program, funded by the members of Coastal Electric Cooperative through Operation RoundUp, provides grants to local teachers for innovative classroom projects that fall outside normal funding parameters.
Since the program began in 2002, $170,000 has been given to educators for more than 165 projects benefitting well over 29,700 students.
“Teachers have great ideas on ways to make lessons fun and engaging, but often the money to fund these projects isn’t available.” said Coastal Electric Cooperative CEO Whit Hollowell. “We encourage teachers to think outside the box, to be innovative, and create new learning experiences for their students.”
Over the two-day period, the Bright Ideas Prize Team made 15 presentations. “We go into the schools with a team of people bearing gifts for the winning teachers and their teammates. We have a big balloon bouquet, bags of goodies, a video photographer, and a big presentation check,” Hollowell said.
“The idea is to honor the teacher in their classroom because Bright Ideas is really about giving teachers the tools to help students.”

The 2013 grant winners from Bryan County are:

Jessica Bosworth of Richmond Hill High School, $750 for her project SOS Signs of Suicide Prevention Program. She will use the money to create a program teaching students to recognize signs of depression, suicidal tendencies, and self-injury. The project will also teach students that depression is a treatable illness. It empowers students to get help for themselves or a friend who may be having those types of thoughts.

Aura Welch of Richmond Primary School, $480 for her project, Clay Turtles in their Environment. Her class will combine the standards of first grade science and art as they learn about turtles and their environment. They will create a clay turtle based on what they have learned by applying techniques of three-dimensional art.

Marcy Newberry of Dr. George Washington Carver Elementary, $1,620 for her project, Motion & Design. Her fourth grade students will participate in a hands-on learning of physics in force and motion by creating vehicles from plastic construction materials, weights, rubber bands, and propellers. Students will test their vehicles to see how it responds to different forces of motion, like pushes, pulls, or rubber band energy.

Bivins Miller of Richmond Hill High School in Bryan County, $1,114 for his project, Why Try? This program will provide students tools to help change patterns of failure and indifference and improve students high school career. It will provide motivation towards the goal of graduation and lower the anxiety about their future that often leads to self-defeating behavior.

Erin Turner of Richmond Hill High School, $1,800 for her project, Shoot to Win. Her project is aimed at getting the school’s yearbook ready to compete nationally with other school yearbooks. In order to compete at this level, high quality photography and images are necessary to document school academics, sports, and other events. This project integrates modern camera technology that students would not otherwise have the opportunity to learn and use in practice.

Joseph Traywick of Richmond Hill High School, $1,798 for his project, SOS – Science Olympiad Scholars. His project will help students to prepare for the premier science competition in the country that promotes rigorous, standards-based challenges to the entire nation; the Science Olympiad. In order to be competitive, it is necessary to teach students to utilize digital data collection methods with real time analysis as used in colleges and industry. The SOS project will provide funding to purchase the necessary equipment to better prepare students to compete in an increasingly competitive college and job market.

Cindy Youmans of Richmond Hill Middle School, $1,800 for her project, Electricity: It’s Hair-Raising! Students will have fun and develop their knowledge of electricity by using Van de Graaff generators to safely feel the flow of electricity, see the electricity arc from place to place, hear the crackle of moving electrons, and experience the repulsion of like-charged strands of hair. Teachers will use the Van de Graff generator to explain how electrical energy from the wall outlet is transformed into mechanical energy in the generator’s belt and then into a static electric discharge.

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