Bright Ideas Grant Program

At Randolph Electric, we believe there is no more important investment than in our state’s youth. That’s why for more than 20 years, the electric co-ops of North Carolina have offered Bright Ideas education grants to Tar Heel teachers in K-12 classrooms across the state.

Bright Ideas grants provide funding for innovative, classroom-based projects that would otherwise not be possible. Since 1994, we have touched the lives of more than 2 million students who have participated in 9,800 Bright Ideas projects, and given out more than $10.2 million. Each year, close to 600 grants are funded across the state.

Proposals can come from any area of the curriculum. Projects must directly benefit students, provide ongoing benefits, and use innovative teaching methods. A panel of previous Bright Ideas grant winners, various counties’ Teachers of the Year, as well as retired teachers, carefully reviewed and discussed each application before deciding on the following final awards.

To apply, teachers must include a budget, explain the implementation, goals, creative elements and evaluation of the project, and have approval from the school principal. Applications will be judged in a competitive evaluation process, and judges will be on the lookout for projects that feature innovation and creativity. The application and grant-writing tips can be found at and will become available April 1st. 

2017-18 Bright Ideas Grant Winners

Lauren deSerres, Chatham Central High
Storage for Clay – $760
Bright Ideas funding will help the classroom purchase Brent EX ceramic ware carts with shelves and a plastic cover to store and protect sculpture projects in the art classroom. 

Kathleen Gee, Charles McCrary Elementary
Rainbow Ukuleles –
Using a color-coded system, students will be systematically taught the history and parts of the ukulele, how to tune, use fingerstyle, read music and play chords. 

Terry Maness, Green Ridge Elementary
STEAM bins– $1,500
Funding will help make for a learning environment based on the needs of the whole child and not just focusing in on specific learning standards. Students will be able to weave together and to communicate their understanding of STEAM concepts throughout the school day.

Chrissy Neelon, Uwharrie Charter High
Fire and Fusion –
Students will begin an Enameled Jewelry Unit by learning about how enameling was used by cultures in the past and how the process has advanced into the technological and scientific process that we use today.

Carrie Robledo, Highfalls Elementary
Going Global with STEM –
Second grade students will participate in Level Up Village’s course, Global Storybook Engineers.  In this course, together with their global partner, students will learn fables, stories and myths from different cultures, and then explore how they can re-engineer the outcome using household materials.  

Stephanie Ross, East Middle
Exceptional Children Greenhouse – $1,580

In addition to learning many hands-on skills in the greenhouse, students will work with developing peers who are trained to work with students with special needs in order to teach them things like social skills, following directions, cooperation and developing expectations together.

Blakely Scearce, Uwharrie Charter Middle
Sphero SPRK – $1,800

Students will learn programming with MacroLab and OrbBasic followed by multi-day STEAM challenges. These multi-day experiments foster creative problem-solving and teamwork. 

Jennifer Walker, Uwharrie Charter High
Mini Movie Masters – $600 

Students will write scripts, create scenes, characters, backgrounds and props, and finally put everything together into films.

Lee Waln, West Middle
Makey Makey –
Using a Makey-Makey board, students will use technology to interact with their environment in imaginative new ways.