Football-Inspiration-Celebration-Big Bucks Mark Historic Bright Ideas Week

Raleigh, N.C. —A surprise visit by Carolina Panthers team members, motivational messages by nationally renowned educators, and the awarding of grants to some of the state’s most innovative teachers will highlight Bright Ideas Week in North Carolina, November 15-19.

“Bright Ideas is in its 11th year assisting North Carolina’s teachers. It’s also been our most successful year,” said Suzanne Ward, statewide Bright Ideas coordinator for North Carolina’s Touchstone Energy cooperatives. A record, 1,700 teachers applied for a Bright Ideas grant and the state’s electric cooperatives awarded $530,000, also a record. Since 1994, North Carolina’s Touchstone Energy cooperatives have funded more than $4 million in Bright Ideas grants that have reached 750,000 students. The state’s electric cooperatives established the Bright Ideas program to help teachers who were funding classroom-based projects out of their own pockets.

On Tuesday, November 16, Carolina Panther players Omari Jordan and Nick Maddox will pay a surprise visit to J.H. Gunn Elementary to kickoff and present an $1,800 Bright Ideas grant on behalf of Union Power Cooperative of Monroe for the project “Character Education Bags.” The grant purchased books that teach respect, responsibility, honesty, caring, justice, citizenship and perseverance. The Panthers players will pass out the bags after an address on the importance of honesty on and off the field.

Renowned educator Murray Banks will keynote Bright Ideas awards luncheons Wednesday, November 17 at the Adam’s Mark Hotel in downtown Charlotte and Thursday, November 18 at Exploris Museum in downtown Raleigh. On Friday, November 18, inspiring educator Chris Gallagher, a California middle school teacher born without the use of arms, will address a Bright Ideas award luncheon at the Greenville Hilton.

The Bright Ideas education grant program is another example of the electric cooperatives’ commitment to community. North Carolina’s electric cooperatives serve 2.5 million people in 93 of the state’s 100 counties.