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Alleghany County Teachers Win Bright Ideas Grants from Blue Ridge Energy
Exciting, hands-on learning projects are coming to five local Alleghany County classrooms thanks to $4,679 in Bright Ideas grants awarded recently by Blue Ridge Energy to local educators during a special luncheon celebration honoring winning teachers and their schools.
Bright Ideas is an academic grants program sponsored annually by Blue Ridge Energy. Bright Ideas grants help further traditional academic learning by funding innovative scholastic projects that go beyond available school funding.
To date, Blue Ridge Energy has awarded more than $593,000 in Bright Ideas classroom grants impacting over 110,000 local students and teachers. This year, the cooperative is funding winning grants totaling $25,179 to 21 classrooms in Caldwell, Watauga, Ashe, Alleghany, Wilkes and Avery counties.
Alleghany County grant-winning teachers are:
Allison Douglas of Sparta Elementary for “Hooked on Books.” This $1,500 grant will purchase 1st grade books and screen-free audio devices called Yotos. After selecting a book to read, students will plug in cards and use headphones to listen to the audio version of their selected books while following along with the words and illustrations in the print copy. While virtual learning was a necessity during the pandemic, teachers are now seeing students with “screen fatigue”. This program will help alleviate that while improving attention spans and increasing enthusiasm for learning.
Madison Story of Piney Creek Elementary for “Turning Waste into Wealth.” The grant for $665 will help middle school students become mentors to incorporate “vermicomposting towers” at the school. Vermicomposting is the process of using worms to turn food waste into fertilizer. As waste is produced—food scraps, shredded paper, cardboard, leaves, etc—students will add them to the towers and watch as natural, organic fertilizer. Students will then use the compost for school gardening projects to produce food for the local community.
Dana Maschelle Russell of Alleghany High School for “Crazy About Fitness: Exemplary Exercise at AHS.” This $1,564 grant will purchase fitness gear for a fun, new, innovative fitness class to promote long-term active, healthy lifestyles. Not only is physical fitness key for a healthy body, it also supports cognitive and learning abilities as well as mental health. Adolescence is a critical stage to promote health lifestyles that can last a lifetime and reduce the chance for obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other chronic conditions that impact quality of life.
Janie Cook of Alleghany High School for “Reading is Dreaming with Your Eyes Open.” This $950 grant will support students participating in the 2023 Battle of the Books (HBOB), a comprehension competition for grades 9-12 that has been on hold the past few years due to the pandemic. The grant will purchase 15 required books and a subscription to an online preparation resource to practice timed simulations, trivia questions for each book, mock battles and more. The grant also covers other necessities for the competition such as a bus driver and gas to get to the competition. The program is sponsored by the North Carolina Library Media Association, which believes in literature-based education and is committed to student learning as well as enriching extracurricular opportunities for student interpersonal growth.
“Blue Ridge Energy supports our schools and teachers to build brighter futures for our communities,” said Tasha Rountree, director of community relations for Blue Ridge Energy. “I’m proud that Blue Ridge can help by funding creative classroom projects that bring innovative learning experiences to our students.”
Blue Ridge Energy is part of several North Carolina electric cooperatives providing Bright Ideas grants. Together, they have provided more than $14 million for over 13,500 classroom projects impacting over 2.5 million students in North Carolina.
Blue Ridge Energy is a member-owned electric cooperative serving some 78,000 members in Caldwell, Watauga, Ashe, Alleghany, Avery, Alexander and Wilkes counties. To learn more about the Bright Ideas grants program, visit www.BlueRidgeEnergy.com or contact your local Blue Ridge Energy office.