Last week, Southern Rivers Energy’s Bright Ideas Brigade made surprise stops to award $14,964 to 19 local teachers to fund innovative classroom projects. Thanks to the generosity of SRE members participating in Operation Round Up, 14 schools across seven counties received grants.
From a pool of 67 applicants, a judging panel of retired educators blind-judged the applications in late September. The grants were rated according to creativity, uniqueness of experience, teamwork, goals and learning objectives, potential to benefit future students, and student involvement.
Bright Ideas is funded through SRE’s Operation Round Up program where members volunteer to round up their monthly electric bill to the nearest dollar. The extra change collected from each participating member goes to the Southern Rivers Energy Trust, Inc. and is distributed by a volunteer board in the form of community and individual grants, as well as Bright Ideas grants and scholarships for local students. Since 2007, the SRE Trust has awarded nearly $238,000 to local teachers, giving them the power to put their creative teaching ideas into action.
“Educators who win Bright Ideas grants go above and beyond for their students. These teachers apply for projects on their own time and the innovative and creative learning initiatives developed by our area’s teachers are impressive,” said Bright Ideas program coordinator Kathryn Green. “Southern Rivers Energy is proud to give back to our schools and teachers through Operation Round Up. A big thank you to our participating members for helping us make a difference in our communities.”
Teachers are encouraged to begin making plans now for 2023 project submissions. The application process will open online at southernriversenergy.com on April 1 and submissions are due Sept. 1. The Bright Ideas Brigade notifies grant winners each October.
Erin Cook, Manager of Member Services and External Affairs at SRE, who helped present grant awards, says, “It is so uplifting to see, firsthand, the impact the grants have on our students and teachers. Part of Southern Rivers Energy’s mission is to improve our communities, and helping our local teachers implement engaging lesson plans is one of the many ways we can do that.”
2022 Bright Ideas Grant Winners:
Katie Buffington, St. George's Episcopal School, Speeding into STEAM, $1,000
Arika Collins, Lamar County Middle School, Bustling Businesses! An Entrepreneurship Stimulation, $600
Misty Crews, Mountain View Elementary School, Making Critical Thinkers with Makerspace, $695.44
Laurie Eurich, Spalding High School, Gelli Printing, $999.82
Donna Fouts, Upson Lee Elementary School, Uniquely You, $804.53,
Courtney Gardner, Pike County High School, Making Geometry Visible, $284.96
Kellie Hatcher, Upson Lee Middle School, Math Meddlers, $800
Cody Helms, Pike County High School, 21st century tools for 21st century learners, $1,000
Ana Jones, CrossPointe Christian Academy, Magnificent Magnets, $422.81
Jessi Juhan, Manchester Middle School, Hydroponics in STEM, $772.36
Bethany Norris, Upson Lee High School, Oral History of Our County, $909
Carol Parrish, Lamar County High School, SkillsUSA Audio Video Technology & Film Set Building Project, $1,000
Krista Shouse, Hubbard Elementary School, BeeBots in Kindergarten, $640
Stephen Simon, Poplar Road Elementary, Imagine It, Create It: Utilizing Traditional and Innovative Tools to Create Models, $835.94
Katherine Stinchcomb, Upson Lee Middle School, Round Table Riddlers, $800
Ashley Thompson, Pike County High School, Show Smart: Portrait of a Showman, $900
Jody Thompson, Flint River Academy, Bringing STEM to Everyone, $724.31
Kim Watson, Rock Springs Christian Academy, Let's Rock and Roll, $777.60
Ashley Wright, Pike County Elementary, Blazing a New Trail Together, $997.81
About Operation Round Up® and the SRE Trust, Inc.
Operation Round Up is a Southern Rivers Energy program that has contributed more than $1.5 million to assist charitable groups, education, health and safety and the arts across the nine counties served by SRE. This voluntary program allows SRE to round up participating members’ electric bills to the next dollar and donate the extra change to the Southern Rivers Energy Trust, Inc. to be awarded as charitable community grants. A board of eleven volunteer-members across SRE’s service area meet bi-monthly to review applications and distribute funds according to the Trust bylaws and funding guidelines. Operation Round Up funds the Bright Ideas grant program, the SRE Trust Scholarship program, and community and individual grants.
Southern Rivers Energy is a consumer-owned cooperative providing electricity and related services to 16,565 member accounts in Bibb, Coweta, Crawford, Lamar, Meriwether, Monroe, Pike, Spalding and Upson counties.