Four CCS educators receive Bright Idea grants

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PITTSBORO — Four Chatham County Schools educators have been selected as Central Electric Membership Corp.’s Bright Ideas grant recipients.

Teachers from Chatham School of Science and Engineering, Jordan-Matthews High School, Moncure School and Silk Hope School will use the funds for specific projects in their schools.

The CCS projects chosen this year:

• Chatham School of Science and Engineering teacher Cheryl Whitehead received a grant of $2,000 for the school to improve a courtyard area of the school and transform it into a place where students can participate in project-based learning.

• Jordan-Matthews science teacher Wendi Pillars’ grant request for funding to purchase a camera capable of micro-photography and underwater imagery, as well as a classroom mini-set of iPods to assist students with limited data plans or phone storage, received $1,995. These tools will allow her students to “turn our schoolyard into a research station and our students into citizen scientists and science communicators.”

• Moncure teacher Alicia Shoup received $2,000 to launch a container farm with MyHeart Farm to provide free vegetables to families in need in the county and teach children agri-science, marketing, entrepreneurship and business management.

• Silk Hope music teacher Sarah Stephenson’s requested funds to purchase more instruments for students. Currently, she said, the school had enough instruments for a little over half a class. Her project was awarded $1,867.96, which will enable the school to move closer to the goal of having an instrument for every child while in music class.

Central Electric is continually seeking ways to improve the quality of life in the communities we serve. That’s why each year through the Bright Ideas Program, the Co-op awards approximately $15,000 to teachers to help bring creative and innovative projects into their classroom. Co-sponsored by the N.C. Association of Electric Cooperatives, the grants are available to teachers in area schools for projects that traditional school money does not cover. All of North Carolina’s 26 electric cooperatives participate in the program.

Each year, more than 2,000 applications are accepted from teachers in a variety of disciplines including music, art, history, reading, science, career-planning and information technology. Since the Bright Ideas program began in 1994, North Carolina’s electric cooperatives have awarded $13.6 million to teachers for 12,900 projects benefiting more than 2.7 million students. Next year’s application opens April 1.


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