‘Bright ideas’ grants need takers


By Tom Joyce - [email protected]



DOBSON — Now that local schools are back in session for another year, grants are being offered to educators for projects aimed at enhancing the learning process.

Applications for the Bright Ideas grant program — which has operated for more than 20 years — are being accepted by Surry-Yadkin Electric Membership Corp., based in Dobson, and other electric cooperatives in North Carolina.

The education grants, for which the application deadline is Sept. 23, fund creative, classroom-based projects that tend to build enthusiasm among students.

For example, one K-5 teacher in Durham won a Bright Ideas grant for her project, “Bring Science to Life,” which provided money to buy a variety of live animals for interactive science labs for each grade level. In one facet of the project, kindergartners kept journals of the traits they learned about in animals such as goldfish, aquatic snails, earthworms, mealworms, praying mantis, lady beetles, mice and gerbils.

Another elementary teacher used Bright Ideas grant money to buy a 180-gallon composter for a project called “Greening up Our School” — with a goal of teaching students to make better food choices and be mindful about wasting food. The composter contains items such as leftover fruits and vegetables, yard waste and coffee grinds, which after decomposition are used by students as fertilizer around their school.

Surry-Yadkin Electric Membership’s participation in the statewide grant program covers the co-op’s service area of Surry, Stokes, Wilkes, Yadkin, Alleghany and Forsyth counties.

And in 2015, educators in Surry County took the lion’s share of grants, according to Adam Martin, a Surry-Yadkin EMC spokesman.

“Last year, we awarded $6,250 in grants to 10 teachers in our service territory,” Martin added. “Six of the grants went to teachers in Surry.”

Teachers can apply for Bright Ideas grants of up to $1,000, which is part of more than $600,000 in Bright Ideas funding that will be awarded to teachers statewide during the upcoming school year.

Classroom teachers at qualifying schools in Surry and other area counties may apply for grants individually or as a team.

The application, grant-writing tips and more information about the Bright Ideas education program can be found at www.ncbrightideas.com.

“We are proud to support educators whose hard work, dedication and enthusiasm impact the lives of so many young people,” Greg Puckett, executive vice president and general manager at Surry-Yadkin EMC, said in a statement.

“Every year we are blown away by our local educators’ drive to create cutting-edge ways to bring learning to life in the classroom, and with Bright Ideas grants…we’re excited to offer something in return.”

Since 1994, North Carolina’s electric cooperatives — which serve residents and businesses in 93 of the state’s 100 counties — have awarded more than $10.2 million in Bright Ideas grants for 9,800-plus projects benefiting 2 million students.

Each year, about 2,000 applications are accepted from teachers in a variety of disciplines including music, art, history, reading, science, career-planning and information technology.

“Surry-Yadkin EMC is dedicated to supporting education in our local communities,” Puckett added.

“By giving back to teachers, there is no better way to foster new learning opportunities for our future leaders.”

Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.

By Tom Joyce

[email protected]

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