Caldwell Teachers Win Bright Ideas Grants from Blue Ridge Energy

LENOIR, NC (November 18, 2020) — Exciting, hands-on learning projects are coming to local Caldwell classrooms thanks to $5,859 in Bright Ideas grants awarded recently by Blue Ridge Energy to local educators during a special virtual 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.

For its 26th year of grant making, Blue Ridge Energy is awarding $25,139 to 28 classrooms in its service area of Caldwell, Watauga, Ashe, Alleghany, Wilkes and Avery counties. To date, Blue Ridge Energy has awarded more than $544,000 in Bright Ideas classroom grants that has impacted over 100,000 local students and teachers.

Caldwell County grant winning teachers are:

Megan Lovins of Hudson Elementary, for “Science “COVID STYLE.” This $1,386 grant will give students hands-on experiences and will focused on animal adaptations, rocks and minerals. Students will get a look at what a biologist and archaeologist do in their careers.

Jeanie Robinson of Caldwell Applied Sciences Academy, for “Voices of the Holocaust.” The grant for $1,144 allows students to learn how the Resistance operated during World War II by recreating and operating an underground newspaper and radio station similar to those used during that time.

Courtney Swanson of Collettsville Elementary, for “Step It Up.” This $929 grant will help students benefit from a social and emotional curriculum that teaches self-management of emotions, relationship building and conflict resolution.

Rylie Lytle Plaster of Horizons Elementary, for “Grow Your Mindset.” The grant for $1,100 will be used for construction of a greenhouse that will introduce students to how gardening can help them learn to take care of something other than themselves.

David Brotherton of Hudson Middle, for “Is That Real?” This $1,300 grant will purchase virtual reality headsets to increase interest in healthcare careers by giving students a realistic view of healthcare opportunities.

According to Caldwell District Manager Tyler Reece, these winning teachers are also helping their schools as Blue Ridge Energy is awarding an additional $150 to each of their schools to assist with COVID-related teaching challenges. “This is a unique time for our students and educators. I’m pleased and proud that Blue Ridge is able to fund creative classroom ideas and provide a little help to each of the winning schools.” Reece explained.

Blue Ridge Energy is part of several North Carolina electric cooperatives providing Bright Ideas grants. Together, they have provided more than $12.9 million for classroom projects impacting over 2.5 million students in North Carolina.

Blue Ridge Energy is a member-owned electric cooperative serving some 76,000 members in Caldwell, Watauga, Ashe, Alleghany, Avery, Alexander and Wilkes counties. To learn more about the Bright Ideas grants program, visit Blue Ridge Energy’s web site at or contact your local Blue Ridge Energy office.