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From left, Jamie Dale, Lindsey Gough, Will Derrick, Joelle Poore, Calah Fortune and Karen Dallas were named Wednesday as recipients of Bright Ideas grants for Watauga and Avery counties. Photo courtesy of Blue Ridge Electric.

Originally published: 2012-11-07 22:17:00
Last modified: 2012-11-07 22:17:00

Local teachers win Bright Ideas grants

by Staff Reports

Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation presented Bright Ideas grants totaling more than $6,500 to six teams of educators Wednesday.

Bright Ideas is an academic grant program sponsored by Blue Ridge Electric in conjunction with N.C. Electric Membership Corporation. The grants are designed to help further traditional academic learning by funding innovative scholastic projects that go beyond available school funding.

The grants were awarded during a luncheon at Dan'l Boone Inn honoring the teachers.

The Watauga and Avery county grant winners are:
— Lindsey Gough of Cove Creek Elementary for “Childhelp Speak Up Be Safe.” The grant for $1,293 will be used to purchase the Childhelp Speak Up Be Safe prevention education curriculum that equips children in grades 1 through 6, teachers and parents with skills they need to play a significant role in the prevention or interruption of physical, emotional and sexual abuse or neglect.
— Karen Dallas and Teresa Greene of Hardin Park Elementary for “Links to Literacy.” This $632 grant will be used to purchase materials to implement the daily five literacy program in a kindergarten classroom. The program will provide opportunities for students to read independently, read to each other, listen to reading, work with words and practice writing.
— Will Derrick of Valle Crucis Elementary for “Robotics.” This $1,500 grant will be used to purchase the materials needed to allow students to build robots and compete in an annual competition at ASU in the spring.
— Jamie Dale of Parkway Elementary for “It’s Alive!” This $1,200 grant will be used to make science come to life for the first-graders at Parkway. The students will have the materials to allow them to become real scientists as they learn and investigate science through hands-on experiences.
— Laura King and Joelle Poore of Cranberry Middle School in Avery County for “Reading ... In Math Class?” This $922 grant will allow students to have access to digital mathematical “bridge” books on topics such as the Pythagorean theorem, functions, 3D figures and more. These books hook students into difficult mathematical concepts using relevant, rich stories.
— Calah Fortune of Avery County High for “STEM Green Art Lab.” This $1,000 grant will be used to create a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) Green Art Lab. This lab will allow students to practice sustainable art-making while learning about renewable energy, recycling, consumption and waste management.
Blue Ridge Electric received 83 applications for the 2012-13 school year from schools in its service area of Caldwell, Watauga, Ashe, Alleghany, Wilkes and Avery Counties. A total of $19,296 was awarded to 19 schools.

Blue Ridge Electric has offered the Bright Ideas grants for 19 years as part of its support and commitment to education. To date, the corporation has provided more than $343,000 that has impacted more than 93,000 local students.

Since the inception of Bright Ideas grants, North Carolina electric cooperatives have provided more than $7.9 million for 7,700 classroom projects impacting more than 1.4 million students in North Carolina.
Blue Ridge Electric is a member-owned electric cooperative serving about 74,000 members in Caldwell, Watauga, Ashe, Alleghany, Avery, Alexander and Wilkes counties. To learn more about the Bright Ideas grants program, visit or contact your local Blue Ridge Electric office.