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Snapping Shoals EMC awarded $15,000 in grants to a number of teachers in Newton County through the co-op’s Bright Ideas program. The grants, which are allocated from unclaimed capital credit funds, are designed to help teachers who wish to extend educational opportunities and activities for students by developing student interests and abilities.

Before congratulating all of the grant winners, Danny Stone, Snapping Shoals EMC Vice President of Economic Development and Member Services explained how these grant funds are made available through the company.

“As a member owned cooperative we return anything above the cost of providing service to our members on a periodic basis,” said Stone. “This year we returned $3.7 million to our consumers in the form of capital credits and that was the dollars above our actual costs of providing service for the year of 2000. You may have been a member in 2000 and we mail a check to the last known address we have for you. In that fifteen year period you may have moved several times. That check goes to the last known address and many are often returned to us as undeliverable and become what we call unclaimed capital credits.”

According to Stone, up until 2005, those dollars had to be turned over to the state of Georgia. The funds were placed in the general fund and state spent the money as it saw fit.

“They may spend it in Valdosta, or Rome or Gainesville or wherever they wanted to spend it” Stone explained. “There were no guidelines on how those dollars were spent. Legislation was introduced about seven years ago that local cooperatives can keep those unclaimed capital credits in the communities they serve but they can only use them for three purposes—education, economic develop, and contributions to 501C-3 organizations. These dollars are designated for those purposes—can’t be used for anything else—so what better way for us to distribute some of these dollars to you folks who go the extra effort to go that extra mile to put together grants to do some innovative things for the young people in our community. It’s a great opportunity for us to be involved with the education of our young people and we appreciate the chance to come in and do this.”  

“There were a lot of great ideas and each of these grants will benefit our students,” said Dr. Kathy Garber, Newton County School System Grant Coordinator.

A list of 2015 grant recipients and their projects are below:

  • Patricia Alexander, Alcovy High School, Butterfly Garden Outdoor Classroom. Students, teachers, and parents will work together to build a large raised-bed butterfly garden with perennials to attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Students will also build rain barrels and use a rain gauge and thermometer for gathering data.

  • Lynne Behnke, Oak Hill Elementary School, STEM Lab. Funds will be used to purchase equipment, including iPad Minis, for the STEM Lab for fourth and fifth-grade students. The lab allows students to discover real world problems, understand the variables involved, and find solutions.

  • Alisa Echols, Eastside High School, Use the Shadow to Shine a Light on Your Future. Funds will purchase, a career exploration and LIFE planning software program with over 1,000 job shadow videos, interactive employment lessons that teach “soft skills,” and career interest assessments.

  • Morgen Gay & Renee Carey, Cousins Middle School, Using Screen Capture Software for Individualized Student Writing Feedback. SnagIt software will help teachers provide individualized writing conferences with students, providing feedback in both auditory and visual formats.

  • Elizabeth Gressel, South Salem Elementary School, How Does Your Garden Grow? Third-graders will investigate soil types for growing certain plants and plant a school garden. A section of the garden will feature rocks, minerals, and fossils found in our area.

  • David Hornbeck, Eastside High School, Understanding Statistics with Beads. Students will sample from four populations of 40,000 beads to make inferences about proportion and variability. Students will understand confidence intervals and hypothesis testing in context.

  • Mandy Jones, Heard-Mixon Elementary School, Discovering the Fun of STEM Projects. Students will use STEM kits to design, build, test, and improve various engineering designs and learn about STEM careers. Activities introduce the STEM design process as a way to solve problems.

  • Angela Monell, Eastside High School, Bacteria Are Everywhere—Please Help Us See Them! Bacteria are the most abundant and diverse group of organisms on earth, but they are extremely small. Funds will be used to purchase advanced microscopes that magnify 1,000 times, so that students can view bacteria and grow bacterial cultures.

  • Debora Ondracek, Marlena Holoway, and Nester Domingo, Porterdale Elementary School, From Farm to Table. Students will establish a composting area with worms, raise plants from seeds to be planted and harvested in a school garden, and hatch poultry eggs and donate chicks to local farms.

  • Kemily Pattillo, Newton College & Career Academy, Light and the Atomic Emission Spectrum. Students will use a power box to supply an electrical discharge to different elements in sealed glass tubes. They will identify which element is present in each tube based on colors produced by a spectroscope purchased with grant funds.

  • Catrina Pollard, Eastside High School, Growing in Showing. Funds will be used to purchase equipment to teach animal science concepts and assist with the Livestock Team, allowing more students to compete with their livestock projects.

  • Marcus Pollard, Newton College & Career Academy, Agricultural Field of Dreams. Students, who created this project and helped write the grant application, will convert a baseball field no longer in use into a working farm and outdoor classroom with goats, chickens, and gardens.

  • Kimberly Porterfield, Porterdale Elementary School, Force and Motion Challenge. Students will use what they learned about force and motion to design and build a functional object (e.g., model cars, propeller boats, and catapults) and create a 3-D model of their object using a new 3-D printer.

  • Shannon Price, Flint Hill Elementary School, The Power of Numbers. Funds will provide hands-on materials and activities for kindergarten students to develop independent mathematical thinking in a Daily 3 Math classroom with three stations: Math by Myself, Math with Someone, and Math Writing.
  • Teresa Raines, Indian Creek Middle School, STEM Greenhouse Project. Students will participate in the STEM Greenhouse Project by researching, designing, and constructing their own hydroponics system and operating a community garden that will grow year-round in the greenhouse.

  • Julia Riggs, Eastside High School, Investigations in Electricity. Students will create a variety of circuits through the use of light bulbs, wires, and batteries. They will use capacitors and resistors in the circuits to see how they work and change the functioning of the circuits.

  • Elizabeth Rogers, Newton County Theme School at Ficquett, STEAM 2nd Grade Engineering. Grant funds will be used to purchase STEM modules to teach problem solving through experimentation, observation and measurement, and reporting results through pictures and graphs.

  • Annette Rooks & May Xiong, Alcovy High School, Special Education Internet Café. Funds will be used to purchase iPad Minis, and an iPad app voucher to provide special needs students access to technology. Apps such as Read2Go and Virtual Manipulatives will allow for individualized instruction and hands-on learning.

  • Natalia Seagreen & Stephanie Thomas, South Salem Elementary School, Science Studies Weekly. Fifth-grade students will use the Science Studies Weekly newspaper series to enhance understanding of science concepts and improve reading comprehension.

  • Christie Stewart, Kerri Helm, Sally Heard, and Lisa Moore, East Newton Elementary School, Sight Word Recognition. As students master sight word lists, they will be rewarded with charms for a necklace. Students who master all lists will receive an Outstanding Achievement charm for the necklace.

  • Leslie Welborn, Eastside High School, Prints for Peace: Joining an International Group of Printmakers to Promote Positive Change. Students will expand their skills in print-making by creating three types of prints centered on the concept of Peace: relief prints, plexiglass transfers, and acetone photo transfers. One print will be submitted to an international exhibit, Prints for Peace.

Snapping Shoals Electric Membership Corporation is a consumer-owned electric cooperative providing electric service to approximately 95,000 homes and businesses in an eight-county area. Most of the utility’s service area is in Newton, Rockdale and Henry counties. Portions of DeKalb, Butts, Walton, Morgan and Jasper counties are also included. The company’s headquarters is on Brown Bridge Road in Newton County.