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Local Educators Win Bright Ideas Grants

Northeast Mississippi Electric Power Association, NE SPARC employees present a grant to Lafayette Elementary School teacher Dana Zuniga, in Lafayette County on Monday. Photo by Bruce Newman

Area school teachers were recently awarded Bright Ideas grants from North East Mississippi Electric Power Association and NE SPARC.

Ten local educators submitted online applications and secured funds for their creative and innovative classroom projects based on an independent selection process.

Representatives of the cooperative visited Lafayette, Oxford and Pontotoc school districts to distribute the nearly $10,000 awarded to school teachers through the Bright Ideas program that will enrich the education of hundreds of children.

“The Bright Ideas grant program allows us to give back to the community. We appreciate the dedication and hard work of our local educators, and this is a small token of that appreciation,” said Sarah Brooke Bishop, Communications and Marketing Manager NEMEPA, NE SPARC. “The fun happens when we surprise the winning teachers and schools in-person with the award.”

This is the first year, NEMEPA and NE SPARC distributed grants of up to $500 to public school teachers teaching K through 12th grade in their service territory.

All classroom subjects are eligible for funding including but not limited to STEAM, language arts and social studies. Teachers with a bright idea simply submit an online form when applications are open.

This year’s winners include:
• Dana Zuniga, Lafayette Elementary School
• Shannon Priest, Lafayette Upper Elementary School
• Jennifer Hewlett, Lafayette Upper Elementary School
• Joanna Bolger, Lafayette Upper Elementary School
• B. Renee Whiteaker, Lafayette Upper Elementary School
• Tracie Riddle, Lafayette Upper Elementary School
• Sarah Green, Oxford Intermediate School
• Marley Jamison, Pontotoc Ridge and Technical Center
• Mary Beth Smith, Lafayette Middle School
• Marissa Atkinson, Lafayette High School

The 2023 Bright Ideas grant application form will open in July 2023. For more information, visit www.nemepa.org/brightideas.

For additional information about North East Mississippi Electric Power Association, see www.nemepa.org. For additional information about NE SPARC, see www.nesparc.com.


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