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Teachers get grants to energize classes
Students carry the ceremonial check that Amy Brinson and Jessica Cook earned for Liberty Elementary for an Alternative Garden project. - photo by Photo provided.

Staff of Coastal Electric Cooperative and its members of its foundation made their rounds Oct. 4 and 5 to award more than $23,500 in Bright Ideas grants to teachers in Bryan, Liberty and McIntosh county schools.

The winning teachers were caught by surprise when the Bright Ideas Prize Patrol came to their classrooms with giant balloon bouquets, gifts and presentation checks.

Liberty County teachers who won grants were:

• Amy Brinson and Jessica Cook of Liberty Elementary School received $1,941 for their Alternative Gardening project. It is a science, technology, engineering and mathematics project that combines aquaculture and hydroponics. It uses fish tank as a resource, circulating it through hydroponic beds to feed plants. The filtered water is then recycled back through the fish tanks. This project is supposed to allow students to see sustainability in action.

• Stephanie Christie of Snelson-Golden Middle received $1,796 for Science in Perspective: 3-D Printed Models. With her grant funds, Christie will buy a 3D printer and software so students can explore abstract science with a hands-on approach. This technology will allow students to design and build 3D models of concepts that are microscopic or otherwise impossible to visualize. This project will inspire students to pursue STEM careers.

• Becky Busby of Frank Long Elementary received $1,981 for Robotics Roundup to give students from kindergarten through fifth grade the opportunity to code robots to complete tasks, and to explore computer programming. Frank Long will be the first school in the district to have a robotics lab.

• Charlie Moon of Bradwell Institute received 1,973 for Special Needs Music Therapy/Sensory Room. Music therapy equipment will be provided for a sensory room. Such therapy takes physical, social, emotional and cognitive techniques from the therapy room. It also increases areas such as mid-line balance and motor skills. Sensory needs, pain management, and two-step thought processes are also alleviated in the sensory room.

• Chelsey Feder of Bradwell received $1,965 for professional video equipment. This project’s goal is to submit 60 video entries to the 2017 Georgia State Media Festival. Plans are to expand the video production program by adding an accelerated course for students who have basic video production skills. To accomplish this, the video production class will get digital high definition cameras and lavalier microphones. Having professional equipment will not only make the videos look and sound better, it will also prepare students for jobs in marketing and communications or the film industry.

• Victoria Funston of Waldo Pafford Elementary received $1,870.00 for Put Math First. This project involves two grade levels enrolling in a web-based math program called "First in Math." Three math teachers and one early intervention teacher will help students work an individually-paced math class that has built in tutorials, record/goal keeping and components that allow students to perform, practice and drill, activities competing with students around the world. Using their personal codes each student can access the program anywhere they have an Internet connection

Since Bright Idea’s inception in 2002, more than $245,000 has been awarded to area teachers. The grants lets teachers put their creative ideas into action. Applications are accepted from teachers instructing students in grades K-12.

Bright Ideas is made possible in part thru the voluntary donations of the cooperative’s members who participate in Operation Round Up — members allow their electric bills to be rounded up to the nearest whole dollar. Those nickels and dimes are turned over to The Coastal Electric Cooperative Foundation. The foundation uses the money to assist with food, health, shelter, safety, and educational needs within the community.

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