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From left, Bright Ideas grant winners include Anne Sukow, Burl Greene, Susan Miller, Chris Watson and Kimberly McAulay. Photo submitted.

Originally published: 2013-11-15 14:23:02
Last modified: 2013-11-15 14:23:47

Teachers awarded Bright Ideas grants

Exciting, hands-on learning projects are coming to local classrooms thanks to more than $7,000 in Bright Ideas grants awarded this week by Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation.

Five Watauga County educators and their teammates were among those recognized during a dinner at the Dan'l Boone Inn.

Bright Ideas helps further traditional academic learning by funding innovative scholastic projects that go beyond available school funding. The program is sponsored by Blue Ridge Electric in conjunction with N.C. Electric Membership Corporation and its 26 other member electric cooperatives.

The Watauga County winners include:

-- Anne Sukow and teammate Beaver Robinette of Bethel Elementary for "Fiddling to Improve Math and Reading Skills." This $750 grant will be used to increase the amount of violins available for loan to allow more students to participate in the strings program. Studies show that students who play music improve in reading, math, and social and behavioral skills. The instruments will continue to be used for many years.

 -- Burl Greene and teammates Mitzi London and Darcy Grimes of Bethel Elementary for "Technology Fitness." This $998 grant will be used to help youth learn to self-monitor their personal physical activity and to promote physical fitness for a lifetime. Using an iPad and fitness apps, students will follow workouts, record their data and observe their improvement throughout the school year.

-- Chris Watson of Green Valley Elementary for "Music Class for the 21st Century." This $1,352 grant will be used to purchase a 128 GB iPad and portable speakers so the school's entire music library can be converted from obsolete technology of CDs and cassettes. The recordings will be safely preserved and utilized for generations of students to come.

 -- Susan Miller of Valle Crucis Elementary for "Primary Source Readers & Fiction Readers for World History." This $1,266 grant will be used to purchase nonfiction readers for students to discover and discuss key places and people in the ancient world. Students will be able to compare ancient civilizations to modern day society and the future.

 -- Kimberly McAulay of Cove Creek Elementary for "Robotics Club." This $729 grant will benefit students in science and technology. The Robotics Club is a new after-school opportunity for students to explore scientific and technological concepts through the design, creation and activation of robots. Students will compete in tournaments throughout the school year.