Jan. 27 was not a typical Monday for school administrators in Liberty County. It’s not every Monday when someone walks through the front door to surprise the principal with a $1,000 check.
That’s just what happened at 23 schools last week as part of the Coastal Electric Cooperative Foundation’s new initiative to help support local students. Over the course of two days, Coastal Electric Cooperative employees delivered $23,000 to schools in Bryan, Liberty and McIntosh counties to be donated to their “principal’s funds,” with the intention the monies would be used to meet students’ needs throughout the school year to which only staff working closely with the students may be privy.
“The directors of the Coastal Electric Foundation recognized an opportunity to further support the children of our community,” said Coastal Electric CEO Chris Fettes. “In addition to Bright Ideas grants and scholarship opportunities the Foundation already funds, they made these new donations to support the principals of our schools as they assist students and teachers that may have unique circumstances of need.”
Principals expressed a range of ideas as unique as the schools themselves for what the money will be used. Being able to discreetly help certain students with basic needs for clothing, shoes and backpacks were a given, as was supporting families who suffered loss from crises like house fires. Principals also mentioned helping students afford eyeglasses and pay off overdue lunch debt.
Providing supplies so teachers wouldn’t have to pay so much out of pocket; extending Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM) opportunities for students; and offering creative incentives for perfect attendance, good grades and positive behavior were just a few of the ways principals said they could use the funds.
“You’ve made not just my day, but my year,” said Lewis Frasier Middle School Principal Jermaine Williams. “It’s all about the faculty and students, and that’s exactly what this will be used for. When you do good, good will happen.”
Hopefully, the extra $23,000 will help local school leaders in their quest to “do good” for the youth of Bryan, Liberty, Long and McIntosh counties.
The Coastal Electric Cooperative Foundation assists with the food, health, safety, education and shelter needs of citizens in counties served by Coastal Electric Cooperative. The Foundation’s main funding is from Operation Round Up, a volunteer program through which members allow their electric bills to be rounded up to the next whole dollar and invested back into the community. Since its creation in 1993, the Foundation has awarded grants in excess of $1.8 million to numerous charities, organizations and individuals.