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Area teachers earn $22K in EMC grants
Coastal grant to Waldo Pafford teacher
Waldo Pafford Elementary teacher Victoria Funston (at right, holding check and balloons) celebrates receiving a $1,912.90 grant from Coastal Electric Cooperative for her project Building History, which will have students reconstruct historical scenes using Legos. With her, from right, are Coastal human-resources manager Daphanie Harris, school Principal Dr. Bernadette Crow and Coastal CEO Whit Hollowell, along with her students. - photo by Photo provided.

Coastal Electric Cooperative and its foundation recently awarded more than $22,000 in Bright Ideas grants to school teachers in Bryan, Liberty and McIntosh counties. The winning teachers were caught by surprise when the Bright Ideas Prize Patrol came to their classroom to present them with giant balloon bouquets, gifts and a presentation check.

The Prize Team visited classrooms in Liberty County on Oct. 8.

Anthony Johnson of Midway Middle School won a $1,590 grant for his project “Real Men Read.” He will use the money to purchase reading applications, facilitator guide and student workbooks for the REAL (Read Excel Achieve & Lead) Men Read reading club. The program is designed to deepen literacy and instill a love for reading in young men while teaching them vital leadership components that contribute to their success as a student and overall well-being.

Other grant winners from Liberty County were:

• Karisa Young of Liberty College and Career Academy, $1,200 for her project, “The Reality Store.” The Reality Store provides a valuable experience in which students learn how the choices they make regarding careers, budgeting income and managing expenses will affect future outcomes. The project allows students to draw a salary based on a specific career and manage basic living expenses for themselves and a family. The program teaches personal responsibility and promotes self-esteem by giving students ownership over the career and life goals.

• Linda Cooke of Liberty Elementary, $826.67 for her project, “Poetry Under Construction.” Her English language arts and reading classes will create original poetry and art. Students will submit their poetry along with their art to be published in the school poetry book.

• Diane Claxton of Button Gwinnett Elementary, $1,037.01 for her project, “Outside These Four Walls.” All students at the school will have the opportunity to experience science in authentic ways. Students will not only experience the lab, but also write about their experiences in a science journal. Students will also set up and manage the outdoor science lab so they have a vested interest in the learning taking place.

• Victoria Funston of Waldo Pafford Elementary, $1,912.90 for her project, “Building History.” This is a project that uses Legos as a medium. The students will use the events in history from their social-studies curriculum to reconstruct historical scenes such as battles, speeches, towns and parades. The activities will require group work which incorporates planning and engineering the building of visuals to represent key events from the past.

Since the program’s inception in 2002, more than $220,000 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 through the voluntary donations of the Coastal Electric Cooperative’s members who participate in Operation Round Up, in which 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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