Bright Ideas Grant Awards 2017-2018

Piedmont Electric Awards Grants to Teachers for their ‘Bright Ideas’

Piedmont Electric awarded more than $25,000 in Bright Ideas education grants to 27 local educators to fund innovative classroom projects. More than 4,600 students in Alamance, Caswell, Durham, Granville, Orange and Person counties will participate in Bright Ideas projects funded by Piedmont Electric this year.

“We are proud to support these engaging classroom projects in our local schools,” stated Steve Hamlin, President and CEO of Piedmont Electric. “These experiences can make a real positive difference in students’ lives.”

Winning projects include (but are not limited to):

Sphero Chariots Fight the Force of Friction: Students will code Sphero robots to race team-created chariots through a course and then calculate the speed and effects of frictions on their chariots.

Future Meteorologists: Approximately 100 fifth graders will collect local weather data provided by a solar-powered weather station set up at school. Using the data, they will analyze trends and work to predict the weather like real meteorologists.

Chickens in the Lower School: Students will learn about chicken breeds and care with the addition of four laying hens to their garden program. Responsibility for their care will rotate amount the students and they will learn how to properly handle animals and assess their health.

Since the Bright Ideas grant program began in 1994, Piedmont Electric has contributed more than $420,000 to local educators.

“Concern for community is one of our seven guiding principles that we have followed since we were founded almost 80 years ago, and we believe there is no better way than investing in our future leaders,” Hamlin explained.

Piedmont Electric is one of 26 member-owned electric cooperatives in North Carolina offering Bright Ideas grants to local educators. Since 1994, North Carolina’s electric cooperatives collectively have awarded more than $10.9 million to North Carolina educators for approximately 10,400 Bright Ideas projects benefitting more than 2.1 million students.

Bright Ideas grant applications are collected each year between April and mid-September. Winning proposals are selected in a competitive evaluation process by a panel of judges with education experience. To find out more about the Bright Ideas grant program, visit

Piedmont Electric is a local, member-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperative serving more than 31,000 electric accounts in Alamance, Caswell, Durham, Granville, Orange and Person counties. Piedmont Electric exists to serve our members and improve the quality of life in our communities through local employment, economic development, business engagement, youth education, grants to educators, advocacy for energy issues, community involvement and emergency preparedness support. Visit for more information.


Full list of Bright Ideas grant winners below:

Contact Name County Grant Name School
Tiffany Ehmig Alamance Hydroponic Community Garden Blessed Sacrament School
Mauriah Smith Caswell Wiggle While You Work North Elementary – Providence
Teresa Perkins Caswell A Habitat for Learning Stoney Creek Elementary
Lena Deskins Durham Citizen Science Sandy Ridge Visual and Performing Arts Elementary
Bobbie Lequire Durham Rube Goldberg Wantabees Club Blvd Elementary
Justin Finger Durham Jordan Rocketry Mars Rover C E Jordan High
Michael Bonsignore Durham chickens in the Lower School Carolina Friends School
Tamara Barabasz Durham Engineering in the Easley MakerSpace STEM Lab Easley Elementary
Heather Daniel Granville Are you Sure It’s Alive?  It’s Not Breathing; Where’s its Mouth? Joe Toler-Oak Hill
Geoffrey Bowman Orange Expanding the use of probe-ware in Orange High science classes Orange Senior High
Laura Holmes Orange High Schoolers AT-AAC Life Orange Senior High
Margaret Plambeck Orange Desperate Journeys: Finding Refuge in Novels A L Stanback Middle
Melissa Barnhouse Orange The Power of Mindfulness and Movement for Learning A L Stanback Middle
Joseph Sharp Orange Mock Archaeological Dig A L Stanback Middle
Beverly Jones Orange Learning Language and Loving It! A L Stanback Middle
Wesley D. Barnhouse Orange The History, Culture and Application of Block Printing A L Stanback Middle
Melissa Barry Orange How Does Our Garden Grow Carrboro High School
Celine Stinnett Orange Keeping Math and Body Fit Cameron Park Elementary
Amy White Orange Sphero Chariots Fight the Force of Friction Grady Brown Elementary
Kelly Jones Lazarus Orange STEM Games Make Students STARS! Grady Brown Elementary
Nancy Cheek Orange Creating My Own Home Library New Hope Elementary
Theresa Torian Person Future Meteorologists Helena Elementary
Kelly Pearce Person Bringing the Outside In North Elementary – Roxboro
Richard Hughes Person Let’s Move and Bang on Our Drum All Day Woodland Elementary
Rachel Yarbrough Person Flexible Seating Improves Learning Oak Lane Elementary
Blakely Lord Person SHAKESPEARIENCE! Person High School
Ashley Bailey Person Creating Savvy Student Scientists Roxboro Community School