SRE awards almost $20,000 in Bright Ideas Grants for local teachers Southern Rivers Energy and the Southern Rivers Energy Trust, Inc. awarded a total of $19,690 to local teachers to fund innovative lesson plans for students. Members of the Bright Ideas Brigade from Southern Rivers Energy surprised the winning teachers in their classrooms with flowers, balloons, big checks and gift bags. Grants of up to $1,000 are awarded to teachers for their creative classroom projects. The program is designed to challenge teachers to develop innovative lesson plans that engage students, involve teamwork and re-energize their love of learning. Grants are not awarded for professional development.Slideshow of winners inside.’The Bright Ideas program is just one of the ways Southern Rivers Energy is supporting education in its communities,’ said Erin Cook, communications specialist at Southern Rivers Energy. ‘Thanks to the generosity of our members participating in Operation Round Up®, we are able to provide grants for teachers who inspire their students with a creative learning process and scholarships for local students pursuing higher education.’ Starting in May, certified teachers in grades Pre-K through twelfth grade at any public or private school in SRE’s service area are invited to submit their ‘Bright Idea’ for consideration. Eligible counties include: Lamar, Pike, Spalding, Upson, Monroe, Bibb, Meriwether, Coweta and Crawford. In early October, a panel of judges comprised of retired educators reviewed blind copies of the grant proposals and selected the top scoring lesson plans for funding.2015 grant recipients for Lamar County include: Pat Burnette, Extended Text and Updated Globes for Gifted Students, Lamar County Primary School, Barnesville: $725 Jessica Dunn, Math Made Real, Lamar County Elementary School, Barnesville: $905 Princess Eleby, STEAM-ulating Science Stations, Lamar County Elementary School, Barnesville: $990 Jewel Filipovich, Mission Quest Flight Simulation, Lamar County High School, Barnesville: $465 Laura Hearn, Life Cycle of Chicks, Rock Springs Christian Academy, Milner: $421 Beth Marchman, Read All About It, Lamar County Elementary School, Barnesville: $867 Amanda Niblett, Journey Through Georgia, Lamar County Elementary School, Barnesville: $856 Kristin Stroup, Interactive Notebook Learning Experience, Rock Springs Christian Academy, Milner: $424 Drew Westbury, How Does Our Garden Grow, Lamar County Elementary School, Barnesville: $443 Go to southernriversenergy.com for a complete list of grant descriptions and a link to photos. Operation Round Up began at SRE in November, 2005 and the first grants were awarded in January, 2006. The voluntary program allows SRE to round up participating members’ electric bills to the next dollar and donate the extra change to the Southern Rivers Energy Trust, Inc. to be awarded as charitable community grants.A board of 11 volunteer members across SRE’s service area review applications and distribute funds according to the Trust bylaws and funding guidelines on a bi-monthly basis. To date, the Trust has awarded more than $860,000 to fund charitable groups, education, health and safety and the arts across the nine counties served by SRE.