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. The deadline for applications has been extended until September 28, 2018, due to Hurricane Florence's impact on our area.

2016-17 Bright Ideas Grant Winners

  • Emily Cappello, Balfour Elementary - $194: Grant funding for “Help Make Balfour's Makerspace” will incorporate various STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) projects which will help students become innovative engineers.
  • Kim Collazo, Robbins Elementary - $1,412:  Project RED (Reading and Engineering with Drones) will combine the fascination of a good story with engineering technology associated with drones. Students will use STEM skills to solve real world problems relayed through picture books as they design and program solutions with teammates’ ideas and drones.
  • Johnna Davis, North Moore High - $795: Students will create Smart Mirrors using discarded LCD monitors from computer labs across the district, and then build even “smarter” mirrors using HDMI monitors.
  • Amanda Deaton, Westmoore Elementary - $670: Through grant funding for Breakout EDU kits, students will be working collaboratively and independently to solve problems, puzzles, and other challenges through various technologies.
  • Mary Kathryn Doll, West End Elementary - $1,299: “Communication for All” is designed for students with developmental disabilities who are multi-impaired with physical, visual, cognitive and communication deficits. The use of tactile symbols combined with voice output will allow these students to communicate and develop critical literacy skills that will enhance participation in school.
  • Kathy Fleetwood, Randolph County Early College High - $150: The National WWII Museum has launched Operation Footlocker, providing schools across the country with unique hands-on opportunities to explore the history and lessons of World War II by analyzing WWII artifacts. Each footlocker, or traveling trunk, comes loaded with actual artifacts such as ration books, V-mail letters, etc., from World War II.
  • Kristin Jones, Southwestern Randolph High - $1,600: Students will create and design crafts to sell, which will teach them important business and collaboration skills with teachers and fellow students.
  • Angela Mroczkowski, Randolph County Early College High - $500: Each Breakout EDU kit allows for the facilitation of games, where students will use teamwork and critical thinking skills to solve a series of challenging puzzles in order to open locked boxes.
  • Kelly Priest, West Pine Elementary - $2,000: Students will be able to connect with students from another country to examine the global water program and then design and print 3D water filtration devices.
  • Deborah Robins, Montgomery County Early College High - $780: The School Science club will become STEAM Team Ambassadors to middle school students in the county. Grant funding will allow them to engage through school visits, providing students with a digital gallery of skits and demonstrations, and offering them the opportunity to participate in a Spring STEAM Festival.
  • Brad Thomson, West End Elementary - $2,000: Funding will allow implementation of an Augmented Reality Sandbox to be used by the entire student body. Students will be able to create virtual landforms, and create a large interactive projectable screen that promotes kinesthetic learning.
  • Deborah Wainwright, Southwestern Randolph Middle - $600: With grant funding, the school’s Nature Club will be able to start a pollinator garden. They will be able to purchase raised beds, seeds, soil and garden supplies.