China Grove Middle receives nearly $2,000 Bright Ideas grant

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 30, 2011

CHINA GROVE — A China Grove Middle School teacher is among the recipients of EnergyUnited’s Bright Ideas grants, totaling approximately $40,000, to 28 teachers and educators in the cooperative’s 19-county service area for special projects that will help to enhance classroom innovation.
EnergyUnited representatives made a surprise visit to the school where they presented a $1,996 check to Su Krotchko in front of her colleagues, including the school’s principal Linda Johnson, who all clapped and cheered.
“EnergyUnited is committed to improving the communities we serve, and we believe there is no better way than through educating our students,” said H. Wayne Wilkins, EnergyUnited chief executive officer. “Bright Ideas is the only grant program exclusively for North Carolina teachers, and we are proud to support this worthy cause.”
Krotchko, who was selected by a Bright Ideas review panel for her project “Auto Focus,” said the program will use photography to teach students how to focus attention and stabilize behavior.
Students will use digital cameras, purchased with the grant funds, to isolate concepts and streamline personal photographs to learn math, English, science, and social studies. It allows students to connect real life experiences to the knowledge acquired, Krotchko explained.
Any certified kindergarten through 12th grade teachers in North Carolina can apply for an EnergyUnited grant of up to $2,000 to be used for creative classroom projects.
The Bright Ideas program began 18 years ago to help teachers who were funding classroom-based projects out of their own pockets and has since provided funding for more than 6,500 projects. Next year’s application process will begin in April.
Since the program’s inception in 1994, electric cooperatives, like EnergyUnited have awarded more than $7.1 million to North Carolina teachers across the state. The Bright Ideas program has reached more than 1.2 million of the state’s students in all subjects including math, reading, science and technology, music and the arts.
In total, North Carolina’s Touchstone Energy cooperatives will collectively contribute nearly $600,000 to fund more than 550 Bright Ideas projects this year.