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Bright Idea grants help teachers innovate in class
Bright Ideas 1
Liberty County Career Academy received a $1,384 for The Reality Store last fall to teach responsibility and promote self-esteem. At the presentation were, from left, Daphanie Harris with Coastal Electric; Karisa Young, CEO of LCCA, and Steve Mullice, president of the cooperative. - photo by Photo provided.

Teachers in Liberty County schools are invited to apply for innovative classroom grants of up to $2,000.

The program, Coastal Electric Cooperative’s Bright Ideas, awards multiple grants totaling $22,000 each year to teachers who complete on-line grant applications.

Bright Ideas is the vision of CEO Whit Hollowell who conceived the program in 2002. He knew teachers often have innovative ideas for lessons that required equipment and materials not funded through the classroom budget.

"We found teachers were spending their own money to finance creative class projects that they knew were helping their students to learn new concepts," he said. "Bright Ideas seeks to empower those teachers to think outside the box and develop unique learning experiences for their students."

The program rewards creativity. The grants are not for ordinary school supplies or field trips.

In the past, Bright Ideas grants have funded projects like integrating science, technology, engineering and math activities through robotics, building and testing underwater ROV kits in a pool and recording data, and Turn the Beat Around, a program teaching early CPR and defibrillation.

The applications are evaluated blindly by a team of judges. Winners will not be notified in advance. Instead, the Bright Ideas Prize Team will make its rounds to winning schools Oct. 4 and 5.

"We will come to your classroom totally by surprise with cameras rolling, balloon bouquets, goodie bags and a big presentation check," Hollowell said.

Since the program started more than $220,000 has been awarded to area teachers. Applications are accepted fromK-12 teachers through midnight Friday.

In Liberty County, the applicant teach individually or as a team in:

• Bradwell Institute

• Button Gwinnett Elementary

• First Presbyterian Christian Academy

• Frank Long Elementary

• Joseph Martin Elementary

• Lewis Frazier Middle

• Liberty College and Career Academy

• Liberty County High

• Liberty County Elementary

• Midway Middle

• Snelson Golden Middle

• Taylors Creek Elementary

• Waldo Pafford Elementary

Teachers in south Bryan and McIntosh counties may also apply.

Details, videos and an online applications are available from the Coastal’s website,

Bright Ideas is funded in part by donations of the utility’s members who participate in Operation Round Up, which rounds up electric bills to the nearest whole dollar. The money goes to the Coastal Electric Cooperative Foundation to assist with food, health, shelter, safety, and educational needs within the community.

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