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Bright Ideas grant applications available from BEMC

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By Staff Brunswick Beacon

Brunswick Electric Membership Corporation’s annual Bright Ideas education grant program is in full swing for 2008.

Teachers submitting applications before Aug. 28 will be entered into a drawing for a $500 Visa gift card. The drawing will be on Sept. 2 and the winning teacher will be notified on the day of the drawing. The winning teacher will also receive recognition on the Bright Ideas Web site, www.ncbrightideas.com.

“Teachers give so much to our children and communities and we’re excited to have the chance to give one lucky teacher something in return just for submitting his or her Bright Ideas application by Aug. 28,” said Judy Gore of BEMC. “That’s why we’re offering a $500 Visa gift card as an early bird incentive this year.”

Electric cooperatives across the state, including BEMC, will award a combined total of more than $500,000 to North Carolina teachers in grades K-12. Teachers can apply for grants of up to $2,000 for inventive classroom-based projects.

Online applications are now being accepted at www.ncbrightideas.com where teachers can also find more information about the education grant program. The final deadline for applications is Sept. 26. BEMC will make the awards at a recognition luncheon in early November.

The following are comments from some of last year’s BEMC Bright Ideas grant winners:

Dorothy Chestnutt, East Columbus High School mathematics teacher: “The computer performance system (CPS) has been a very useful tool, providing immediate test feedback to each student. My classes are motivated to do their best and prove to their peers that they are successful. I have seen student achievement and test scores improve. This is ‘cutting edge technology’ and I have truly enjoyed using it in my classroom.”

Margaret Arrowood, Shallotte Middle School: “The Bright Ideas grant helped us purchase career planning materials for our Exploris program. It helps eighth-graders assess their interests and abilities and plan for careers. This is a big help when they meet with guidance counselors and register for freshmen classes. This grant filled a void created when funding for the career assessment module was cut.”

Sherry Jordan, East Columbus High School business education teacher: “The scanners and cameras purchased with our Bright Ideas grant has allowed us to broaden our scope in teaching PowerPoint. Students use it for their senior projects and it allows them to work faster, use realistic pictures instead of clip art and be more creative.”

All North Carolina certified K-12 teachers are eligible to apply for a Bright Ideas grant. Bright Ideas provides grants to teachers for classroom projects that would not otherwise be funded. North Carolina’s Touchstone Energy cooperatives have funded a variety of hands-on projects, including endeavors in music, art, history, language, reading, science, sign language and information technology.

Since it began in 1994, the Bright Ideas program has awarded more than $5.9 million in grant money to North Carolina’s teachers to sponsor almost 5,500 projects teaching nearly 1 million students.