Four County EMC is honoring teachers and celebrating innovation in education this month by awarding Bright Ideas grants to educators in Bladen, Duplin, Pender, and Sampson counties. The education grants will fund engaging classroom learning projects that will benefit more than 3,000 students who will participate in the Bright Ideas projects funded by Four County.

“The Bright Ideas grant winners have truly persevered this school year,” says MaKayla Killens, Communications Specialist at Four County EMC. “The projects submitted this year have brought out the creative skills in educators, as they’ve raised the standard in educating students both through virtual and physical classrooms.”

Typically, these grants bring creative projects to life inside classrooms. However, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Four County EMC has been flexible with the types of projects awarded to ensure that all students can benefit, whether in the classroom or in learning remotely. Grants are awarded for projects in all subject areas, such as music, art, history, reading, science, math, and more.

In total, Four County EMC awarded $19,400.00 to 15 teachers in Bladen, Duplin, Pender, and Sampson counties this year. Four County EMC has contributed more than $474,760 to local teachers through the Bright Ideas program since the program began in 1994. North Carolina’s electric cooperatives collectively awarded more than $12.9 million for approximately 12,359 projects benefitting more than 2.5 million students in our state over the past 25 years.  

Bright Ideas grant applications are collected each year through mid-September, and winning proposals are selected in a competitive evaluation process by a panel of judges. The application process will reopen for interested teachers in April 2021. North Carolina K-12 teachers may learn more at www.ncbrightideas.com.

Four County EMC serves over 32,500 members in Bladen, Duplin, Pender, Sampson, Columbus and Onslow counties.

Follow Four County EMC on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to see how programs, such as Bright Ideas, are impacting local students and communities. To learn more about Bright Ideas grants, visit ncbrightideas.com, and follow @NCBrightIdeas on Facebook and Twitter.

The winning teachers are listed by respective county, along with the amount of funds they received (listed in order of teacher who submitted grant, school, project name and the amount awarded):

2020-2021 Bright Ideas Grant Winners

Bladen County

  • Ron Warren – East Bladen High – Classroom Mosaic Mural – $2,000
  • Olivia Herring – Bladenboro Middle School – Taking Flight with Geography! – $1,800.00

Duplin County

  • Britani W. Becher  –  Chinquapin Elementary – Music To My Ears! – $1,067.85
  • Timothy V. Mateer – Rose Hill-Magnolia Elementary – Eagles Bees & Blooms  – $969.00                                                              
  • Tanya Novakowski – Rose Hill-Magnolia Elementary – Eagles, Dig in! –  $973.96
  • Sulnora S. Oluyemi – Rose Hill-Magnolia Elementary – Addressing Social-Emotional Trauma Through Visual Imagery Poetry, and Collaboration- $1,811.40
  • Victoria Newkirk – Rose-Hill Magnolia Elementary – We Can Virtually Go Anywhere – $2,000.00

Pender County

  • Amber Huckaby – Cape Fear Elementary – Social and Emotional Artistic Learning (SEAL) the Deal with Art – $664.59
  • John C. Wirszyla – Cape Fear Elementary – Recess Equipment for Classrooms to Expand Student Skills (RECESS) – $943.84
  • Bradley Reynolds – Heide Trask High School – Heide Trask Disc Golf Course – $1,772.91
  • Jessica Croson – Heide Trask High School – Evolving Engagement in Biology – $241.45
  • Elaine C. Linke – Penderlea School – STEM Exploration for Disease Protection – $217.00
  • Jared Pinkston – Pender High School – Team PHEnix Game Changers in STEAM Education – $2,000.00

 Sampson County

  • Regina Uribe – Union Middle School – 21st Century Workforce Ready – $1,100.00
  • Dan Chabot – Union High – Lettuce, Turnip, the Beet LIVE – $2,000.00

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