Several Lexington-Richland School District Five classrooms will soon benefit from grants provided by the Mid-Carolina Electric Cooperative (MCEC). The cooperative’s annual Bright Ideas program grants provide funding to teachers who have demonstrated innovative ideas for classroom projects.

District Five grant recipients include: Angela Durham (Oak Pointe Elementary), Brandy Meyers (Oak Pointe Elementary), Liesl Price (Irmo Elementary), Cheryl Harrison (Chapin Middle), Elizabeth Magee (District Five Project SEARCH), Brenna Lamprey and Beth Reilly (Harbison West Elementary) and Brennan Davis (Irmo High). The grants will support a variety of projects, from a hands-on Lego robotics activity for elementary school students to a “digital skills showcase” to help students with disabilities gain employment.

Teachers receiving this year’s grants were surprised recently by the “Bright Ideas Grant Patrol,” which presented recipients with checks and other prizes to acknowledge their awards. Educators like Harbison West Elementary teachers Brenna Lamprey and Beth Reilly say the grants will go a long way to bolstering projects and benefiting students.

“We’ll be installing a Buddy Bench on the playground as part of Project Au-Some, a school program aimed at promoting empathy and acceptance among students,” Lamprey said after being surprised with the grant on October 3. “We are overwhelmed and ecstatic to be able to provide this opportunity to build school-wide community and acceptance. A Buddy Bench will serve as a symbol of friendship, but will also be a safe place to inspire everyone to be the change.”

On the high school level, one grant will help provide students with a mobile broadcast journalism studio.

“This is exciting,” said Irmo High School journalism teacher Brennan Davis. “The mobile broadcast journalism studio will provide students with the opportunity to move beyond print journalism to gain an understanding and working knowledge of broadcast journalism, including writing and reporting, and broadcast and the technical elements of recording, designing, and editing for creating non-print stories.”

This year’s awards mark the 13th annual Bright Ideas program recognition. Mid-Carolina Electric Cooperative gave approximately $16,000 in grants to teachers in several districts this year.

“The idea behind Bright Ideas is to help empower good teachers, to provide support outside of normal public school funding for great projects that deserve to be used in the classroom, yet need that extra assistance,” MCEC’s CEO Bob Paulling said.