EnergyUnited and Carolina Panthers Team Up to Award Bright Ideas Grant to Local Teacher

Under the guise of a career day presentation, EnergyUnited Linemen Brian Thompson and Jon Upright joined Carolina Panthers players Greg Van Roten and Taylor Moton and team mascot Sir Purr to surprise Emily Warnke, a teacher at Winget Park Elementary in Charlotte, with a Bright Ideas Education Grant for her innovative classroom project entitled “Fueling Learning with Renewable Energy.”

“Today, two EnergyUnited linemen had a chance to deliver a surprise announcement that created a uniquely rewarding experience for so many people,” said Maureen Moore, communications manager for EnergyUnited.

The nearly $2,000 grant will go toward the purchase of renewable and alternative energy kits that will allow students to collaboratively discover renewable energy solutions that can be used to illuminate the Winget Park Elementary School sign. Students will ultimately present their recommendations to the school’s Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) board for funding to support the idea that results from their studies.

Through this Project Based Learning unit that incorporates science, social studies, literacy, problem solving and communication skills, current and future fourth grade students will explore how solar, wind and other sources of energy are used to power everyday items.

For 25 years, the Bright Ideas education grant program sponsored by North Carolina’s electric cooperatives has helped improve education by awarding funding to K-12 teachers for innovative, classroom-based projects that would not otherwise be funded. Since 1994, the program has awarded more than $12.2 million in grants for 11,700 projects, touching the lives of more than 2.3 million students statewide.