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$25,000 in Bright Ideas grants awarded to teachers

Flint Energies and its philanthropic arm, the Flint Energies Foundation awarded a total of $25,000 to teachers for creative and innovative lesson plans in the tenth year of the co-op’s Bright Ideas program.

Winning teachers were surprised in their classrooms by the Bright Ideas Prize Brigade representatives from Flint Energies with flowers, balloons, gift bags and “big” checks on October 12, 17, 24 and 26.  The Bright Ideas program distributes grants of up to $1,000 for teachers to implement creative, innovative projects or lessons with students.  The grants are not available for professional development or SmartBoard or iPad requests.

This year $25,000 in Bright Ideas grants were given to 22 winning teachers and their team members at schools in Houston, Crawford, Taylor, Marion, Muscogee and Bibb counties.

Manager of Public Relations, Marian McLemore, stated, “Bright Ideas is a major part of Flint’s commitment to education.  Our Foundation is pleased to support innovative and creative lesson plans that benefit students in the communities we serve. We’re dedicated to the teachers throughout the Middle Georgia area who are inspiring their students beyond the pages of their textbooks. These grants are just a small token of our appreciation to these hard-working professionals.”

Earlier this year, Flint Energies and the Foundation invited teachers who teach grades K-12 at public or private schools located in the co-op’s service territory to apply for the grants.  Flint Energies service area encompasses parts of Bibb, Chattahoochee, Crawford, Dooly, Harris, Houston, Macon, Marion, Monroe, Muscogee, Peach, Schley, Sumter, Talbot, Taylor, Twiggs and Upson counties.  In September, the Cooperative received 68 grant applications, totaling nearly $75,000 from teachers.  A panel of retired educators served as judges and reviewed the applications.  The top scoring lesson plan ideas were funded.

2016 Bright Ideas grant winners:

  • Ginger Gilpin, Boom Boom Pow, Weaver Middle School, Macon, $990.00
  • Tracy McWilliams, Eat Your Vegetables, Bernd Elementary, Macon, $885.32
  • Carrie McGee, The Kindergarten Cooking Caboose, Crawford County Eagles Nest, Roberta, $987.04
  • Katherine Alexander, Outdoor Learning Center, Crawford County Elementary, Roberta, $975.00
  • Deborah Vaughn, Geometry: Building the Bridge from 2D to 3D, Crawford County Middle School, Roberta, $963.86
  • Michael Marler, Eat M&Ms Exponentially, Crawford County High School, Roberta, $990.91
  • Michelle Spell, Garden Classroom, Montessori JOY Learning Center, Reynolds, $1000.00
  • Bergen Poole, Busy Hands, Busy Brains, Taylor County Primary School, Butler, $1000.00
  • Devin Driskell, Beats Around the World, Taylor County Middle School, Butler, $995.00
  • Rebecca Wells, Flip Over Speech, L. K. Moss Elementary, Buena Vista, $862.34
  • Sherry McAllister, Partners with Copyrights, Marion County Middle High School, Buena Vista, $1,000.00
  • Lindsey Woods, Making Makers in Science and Out, Veterans Memorial Middle School, Columbus, $992.00
  • Amanda Hayes, BLAZE:  Bringing Leadership and Zeal to Entrepreneurs, Warner Robins Middle School, Warner Robins, $1,000.00
  • Melanie Mann, Science Alive!, Warner Robins Middle School, Warner Robins, $1,000.00
  • Sylvia Mitchell, Breakfast with Books, Pearl Stephens Elementary, Warner Robins, $680.00
  • Kabrecia Byse, Around the World, Lindsey Elementary, Warner Robins, $300.79
  • Kolenda Davis, Flip the Switch, Northside Elementary, Warner Robins, $234.67
  • Terra McMillan, The Next Generation of Green Scientists, Thomson Middle School, Centerville, $1000.00
  • Andrew Reeves, Growing Tomatoes without Dirt, Thomson Middle School, Centerville, $1,000.00
  • Michelle Davis, Cub Time:  A Road to Literacy Success, Quail Run Elementary School, Kathleen, $425.91
  • Sabrina Comeau, Coding with Legos, Lake Joy Primary, Warner Robins, $1,000.00
  • Carly Moore, Be the Light, Mossy Creek Middle School, Kathleen, $900.00
  • Kimberly Hampton, Sensory Integration in the Classroom, David A. Perdue Elementary, Warner Robins, $872.16
  • Stacey McDuffie, 3D Printing:  Manufacturing Revolution, Bonaire Middle School, Bonaire, $1,000.00
  • Michelle Osborne, Growing Classrooms, Langston Road Elementary, Perry, $450.00
  • Joe Sendek, Adventures on Alphabet Island, Perry High School, Perry, $1,000.00
  • Amanda Tannehill, Sensory Garden, Morningside Elementary, Perry, $1,000.00
  • Emily Clements, Fun with Printmaking, Kings Chapel Elementary, Perry, $495.00
  • Rebecca Matthews, STEM and Storybooks, Kings Chapel Elementary, Perry, $1,000.00

Shelley Greer, a teacher at The Westfield School in Perry, won the online application drawing by submitting her Bright Ideas grant application on Flint’s website.  She received an iPad mini for her classroom.

Nicole Parks, a teacher at Bonaire Elementary School in Bonaire, won a $250 Office Depot gift card for her classroom in the early bird drawing.

Flint Energies began its Bright Ideas program in 2006 and has awarded nearly $160,000 in grant money to teachers for 186 projects teaching more than 5,580 students in Middle Georgia.

About Operation Round Up and Flint Foundation

In 2001, Flint Energies adopted this uniquely simple and rewarding way to enable members to raise money for local charities and service organizations - Operation Round Up®. The electric cooperative’s members contribute nearly $300,000 annually to the Flint Energies Foundation, which supports worthy causes in the 17 counties it serves. Operation Round Up® is a way for members to add voluntarily to those funds in their own unique way.

Participating members allow Flint Energies to “round-up” their bill to the nearest dollar. For example, if a bill is $92.71, a member will pay $93, with all 29 cents going directly to the Flint Energies Foundation. On average, a member will contribute $6 a year, but never more than $11.88. If a member decides not to participate or chooses to discontinue contributions at any time, they may simply contact Flint Energies. Nearly 70% of Flint’s members have chosen to participate. Donations to Operation Round Up® are tax deductible and members receive a summary of contributions in future January and February bills.

The Flint Energies Foundation Board of Directors disburses all contributions to approved, worthy projects. Member contributions are not used for administration costs. The Foundation is a state-chartered, non-profit, 501(c) foundation. Foundation Board members include Chairman Kathy Waites, Fort Valley; Vice Chairman Joanne Hamlin, Lizella; Treasurer Connie McCutchen, Midland; Sara Mitchem, Kathleen; Charles Harrison, Grovania; Pat Bartness, Warner Robins; George West, Kathleen; John Luppino, Warner Robins; Rudy Killingsworth, Buena Vista; Eloise Doty, Butler and Betty Chase, Oglethorpe.

Palmetto Electric Cooperative in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, began Operation Round Up, in 1989. Since that time, more than 200 other electric membership cooperatives nationwide have chosen to adopt the program. Funding applications are available by contacting Flint Energies at 1.800.342.3616 or visiting the My Community section of

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