Twenty-eight teachers from seven LCPS schools are winners of 2018-2019 Bright Ideas grants awarded by Tri-County EMC, including four teachers whose grant ideas were judged the Best of the Best among all winners from Lenoir, Wayne and Duplin counties.
“We did very well at that competition,” Superintendent Brent Williams said. “We’re very proud of these teachers for their extra effort in bringing extra funding to our classrooms for instruction.”
In all, Tri-County awarded 94 grants valued at $78,089. Wayne County teachers won 44 grants and Duplin County teachers, 22. The check presentations were made at a banquet in Dudley on Nov. 1.
The grant request submitted by Teresa Eason to give her health science students at North Lenoir High School a better understanding of Alzheimer’s disease was selected as the best proposal among all winners. In addition to receiving the $1,000 grant funding, Eason also received a cash award for her No. 1 finish.
Three other LCPS teachers – Brenda Griffin and Jami Finch of Pink Hill Elementary and Kristen Davenport of E.B. Frink Middle School – also received Best of the Best honors awarded to the top 15 grant writers. Griffin’s request, a gardening grant that will produce vegetables and berries to be served at her school’s luncheon honoring volunteers, was ranked third best in the competition.
Eason’s grant idea was the second in as many years to claim the top prize from Tri-County. South Lenoir High’s media coordinator Tanya Cahoon won in 2017 with a request for funds she used to create a space in the media center that has the feel of an Internet café.
“We’ll be getting props to put students through a simulation lab that makes them feel like they have Alzheimer’s,” Eason said her top grant. “It changes what they hear, what they see, how they ambulate. Whenever they are working with patients with Alzheimer’s, it will help them see what the patients are going through and allow them to be more empathetic and understanding.”
Eason hopes to expand the impact of the grant funds by taking that instruction off campus. “It’s my hope that our HOSA students can take it into the community center in Kinston and introduce it there to people who have family members with Alzheimer’s, so they can see what it’s like.”
Bright Ideas grants are capped at $1,000 each and are available to teachers in grades pre-kindergarten through 12th at schools in Tri-County’s service area. In Lenoir County, eight schools are eligible, compared to 26 in Wayne and 17 in Duplin.
N.C. Electric Cooperatives also sponsors a statewide Bright Ideas grant program and the nine LCPS schools outside Tri-County’s service area are eligible to compete for those awards. The statewide grant awards have not yet been announced.
Tri-County grant winners from LCPS by school are: Banks Elementary – Ashley Martin, Kathryn Griffin, Megan O’Neal, Brandi Murphy and Laura Parks; E.B. Frink Middle – Kristen Davenport, Chadwick Stokes and Sandi West; La Grange Elementary – Katherine Sowers, Lisa Davis and Georgia Tingen; Moss Hill Elementary – Allyson Heath, Jodi Stocks (for the kindergarten team of Stocks, Sarah Hughes and Lindsay Howard), Kristina Jones, Donna Casad (for the fourth-grade team of Casad, Glenda Kennedy and Kayla Harris), Susan Barwick and Wesley Letchworth; North Lenoir High – Teresa Eason and Kim Hipkiss; Pink Hill Elementary – Brenda Griffin, Jami Finch, Myra Aycock, Walter Upthegrove, Aaron Murdock and Johan Mari-Aviles; and Woodington Middle, Steven Loftin, Jessica Jones and Yvonne Hardy.
Photos of winners are on the LCPS Facebook page.