November 10, 2009– A Kensington Elementary School teacher has created a new lesson for third graders on developing friendships in an increasingly globalized world that caught the attention of the Carolina Panthers and a local Touchstone Energy electric cooperative.
Yesterday morning, representatives from Union Power Cooperative, who sponsor the Bright Ideas education grant program, two Carolina Panthers players and Sir Purr, the team’s mascot, paid a surprise visit to Kensington Elementary School in Waxhaw, N.C., to kick off Bright Ideas month and present a $1,886 Bright Ideas grant for the project “Pen-Pals Around the World.”
Receiving special recognition is teacher, Ann Landwehr and her fellow third-grade team members who submitted the winning Bright Ideas grant.
The grant will fund the supplies for more than 125 Kensington Elementary third graders to exchange letters and photographs with students in East Africa. The students from Waxhaw and East Africa will benefit from the correspondence. Comparisons of traditions, housing, school and games will be made possible by the pen pal program. Students will gain appreciation for another culture and learn what they share in common with children across the globe. Students will also improve writing and grammar skills through the meaningful experience.
“We are excited to see the outcome of this project,”
said Carrie Cameron, Manager of Communications for Union Power. “Pen pal programs promote a better understanding of the world in which our students live, at a level they can relate to. This correspondence will trigger curiosity about social aspects of faraway places, and a realization about the unique experiences that children around the world have.”
Carolina Panthers cornerbacks, Captain Munnerlyn and Sherrod Martin launched the project at a special school assembly in the gymnasium. The school is located at 8701 Kensington Drive. The players spoke to students about seeing a project through from start to finish and how anything is possible through determination.
The surprise event is part of a month-long Bright Ideas celebration. During November, North Carolina’s Touchstone Energy cooperatives will award more than $581,000 to deserving teachers across the state. The Bright Ideas grant program awards grants up to $2,000 for innovative classroom-based projects. Since its beginning in 1994, the Bright Ideas program has presented more than $6.5 million to Tar Heel educators and will surpass the $7 million mark this year. More than 5,900 projects in subjects ranging from mathematics to the arts have been funded by the Bright Ideas grant program, benefiting more than 1 million students throughout the state.
The Bright Ideas program is the only education grant program exclusively for North Carolina’s K-12 teachers and is just another example of the electric cooperatives’ commitment to community.
Union Power Cooperative is a member-owned electric cooperative, which provides electric service to nearly 65,000 members in Union, Stanly, Mecklenburg, Cabarrus, and Rowan counties.