- Lenoir County Public Schools
Teachers set record with 2020 Bright Ideas grants
Lenoir County Public Schools teachers at 13 schools won more than $58,000 in grant awards in competition for regional and statewide Bright Ideas grants presented by N.C. Electric Cooperatives and Tri-County EMC of Dudley.
Nearly $42,000 of that total went to teachers at eight LCPS schools eligible for awards from Tri-County because they’re located in the EMC’s service area. Those schools won more than two-thirds of the grant funds awarded by Tri-County for 2020 and Pink Hill Elementary School picked up a $500 bonus for having the most Bright Ideas grant winners in the region with 13.
In the statewide competition sponsored by N.C. Electric Cooperatives, teachers at five LCPS schools won 20 grants valued at more than $17,000.
The district’s teachers typically lead the way in Bright Ideas grant wins, but 2020 represents a record haul – a total of 75 grants worth $58,777. That’s 18 grants and nearly $20,000 more than in 2019.
“I want to congratulate our LCPS teachers and administrators for leading all educators in a three-county area for the total number of Bright Ideas grants awarded through our local electric cooperative, Tri-County EMC. I also want to congratulate these amazing educators for earning a record-setting number of state-level Bright Ideas grants this year,” Superintendent Brent Williams said. “Their great work in seeking additional funding to support the processes of teaching and learning always is commendable. These accomplishments in 2020, during this difficult time of pandemic and recovery, surely are especially impressive.”
Briana Rogers of Contentnea-Savannah K-8 School will use her $1,500 grant award to purchase Virtual Reality headsets and take her first-grade students on a field trip to the moon – an activity that aligns with a state standard that requires students “recognize patterns of observable changes in the Moon’s appearance from day to day.”
“Who would not enjoy taking a field trip to the moon?” said Rogers, a first-year teacher. “A lot of my children in my class have some personal connection with poverty. I want them to know that their current economic situation does not have to dictate their future expectations.
“My young learners will be able to draw pictures and write sentences explaining the changes they see in the moon each week. At the end of the four weeks, the students will share their observations and pictures with the class,” she aid.
Julie Rouse of Pink Hill Elementary will use her $1,000 grant from Tri-County to launch an art education project she calls “Painting Like Picasso During a Pandemic.” The money will buy art supplies that will be distributed to students who will receive art instruction from high school students both face-to-face and virtually, both during school hours and after school.
“Exposure to arts education improves academic achievement, social and emotion development and communication skills,” Rouse said. “All of these skills, unfortunately, are lacking due to the pandemic. We need to close this achievement gap and have a plan in place to nurture the social and emotional states of our students.”
Lindsey Listrom, N.C. Electric Cooperatives communications manager, said the pandemic was a consideration for grant judges. “Typically, these grants bring creative projects to life inside classrooms,” she said. “However, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, North Carolina’s electric cooperatives have been flexible with the types of projects awarded to ensure that all students are able to benefit, whether they are in the classroom or learning remotely.”
Tri-County grant winners by school are:
Banks Elementary – Catherine Huff and kindergarten team ($880), Olivia Parrish and second-grade team ($527), Regan Crowley ($479), Jennifer Jones ($990) and Weil Sawyer ($149)
EB Frink Middle – Chris Cotter ($410), Kristen Davenport ($1,000), Daniel Krentz ($476), Pam Pate ($1,000), Jonathan Smith ($796), Chadwick Stokes ($895), Joy Sutton ($636) and Sandy West ($995)
La Grange Elementary – Alicia Davis ($876), Emily Daniels ($897), Kara Rouse and Carolina Casey ($974), Katie Sowers ($777), Deborah Anderson ($951), Jennifer Sutton ($766), Lisa Davis ($998) and Gwen Smith ($502)
Moss Hill Elementary – Catherine Lynch ($998), Wesley Letchworth ($799), Kelly Nelson ($410), Lindsay Howard with Sarah Hughes and Irish Williams ($938), Molly Barwick and April Lee ($434) and Meredith Sanderson ($484)
North Lenoir High – Stephanie Harrell ($1,000), Kim Hipkiss ($999) and Harley Smith ($961)
Pink Hill Elementary – Allison Whitfield ($1,000), Amy Taylor ($687), Brenda Griffin ($810), Jami Finch ($702), Jean Turner ($981), Johan Mari-Aviles ($900), Julie Rouse ($1,000), Lakresha Walston ($238), Leigh Anne Hall ($1,000), Lindsey Lee ($212), Megan Lawson ($846), Selina Gray ($985) and Stephanie Kollock ($960)
South Lenoir High – Ryan Gardner ($963), Sarah York ($561), Heaven Tyndall ($609) and Heather West ($293)
Woodington Middle – Melissa Perritt ($999), Majesty McPhail and Julie Adams ($248), Jeffery Wilson and Mari Hatcher ($806), Adam Pike and Chase Williams ($916), Ty Kennedy ($629), Tony Kopanski ($630), Jessica Jones ($998) and Zachery Wills ($658)
Statewide grant winners by school are:
Contentnea-Savannah K-8 – Amy White ($1,010), Susan Langston ($1,050), Shariden Lord ($350), Katie Glydewell ($500), Brianna Rogers ($1,500) and Meredith Criswell $1,002)
Northeast Elementary – Jessica Murphy ($460); the team of Yolanda Holmes, Gloria Finch, Davida Schmidt and Christine Clark-Zoltek ($836); the team of Konya Houston, Keshia Speight and Renee Whitaker ($1,500); and Melissa Capel and Marissa Jones ($996)
Northwest Elementary – Kaitlyn Stroud ($629), Jessica Neal ($1,224), Joretta Durant and Heather J. Clark ($538) and Katherine Hart and first-grade team ($900)
Rochelle Middle – Daree Edmondson ($600), Tracie Dixon ($1,500) and Melissa Grimes ($1,500)
Southwood Elementary – Angeli Jarman ($850), Gail Outlaw ($212) and Laura Stewart ($900)
Since the Bright Ideas grant program began in 1994, Tri-County EMC has contributed $1,685,744 to fund 1,874 creative projects to local teachers. This year, Tri-County awarded a total of $62,483 in Bright Ideas grants to educators in Lenoir, Duplin, and Wayne counties.
Statewide, electric cooperatives have contributed $12.9 million to fund nearly 13,000 grants, benefitting well over 2.5 million students since 1994.
“I want to thank Tri-County Electric Membership Corporation and General Manager, J. Mike Davis and the members of his team, the TCEMC Board of Directors, and the statewide organization, N.C. Electric Cooperatives, for their continued support and willingness to invest in our school system and our daily educational mission,” Williams said. “Their advocacy and sustained support continues to make each step of our united educational journey even more successful.”
Pink Hill Elementary School led all schools in the three-county competition for Bright Ideas grants from Tri-County EMC with 13 grant awards. Shown with principal Lee Anne Hardy, seated left, are winners Allison Whitfield, kneeling, and, from left, front, Brenda Griffin, Jean Turner and Leigh Ann Hall and, back, Megan Lawson, Jami Finch, Julie Rouse, Amy Taylor, Stephanie Kollock, Selina Gray, Lindsey Lee and LaKresha Walston. Not pictured: Johan Mari Aviles.