Local schools earn STEM grant via TVA

Four area schools are getting $5,000 each to use in furthering their individual STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and MATH) projects courtesy of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Partnership Grant Program.

The TVA, in partnership with Powell Valley Electric Cooperative (PVEC) and Bicentennial Volunteers Incorporated, which is a retiree organization, awarded Cumberland Gap High School, Heritage Christian Academy, Forge Ridge School and Hancock Elementary with their shares of the $800,000 in competitive STEM grants awarded to nearly 200 schools located inside the 7 state territory served by the Authority.

Educators submitted their projects whether large or small with the idea to use any of the grant funds to further their STEM education initiatives inside the classroom.

Cumberland Gap High plans to use the $5,000 to establish a Panther Podcast and mobile studio. Heritage Christian Academy will use the money to access the Augmented & Virtual Learning program through Google Classroom.

Forge Ridge School plans to assist in the Pandemic Relief Program by purchasing sanitizing spray and face thermometers to fight the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Hancock County Elementary, which is just over the Claiborne County line, will use the funds to study the Clinch River ecosystem.

“Congratulations to all of the winning schools for being a TVA STEM grant recipient,” said Brad Coppock, PVEC interim general manager. “These grants will fund innovative projects and potentially be the stepping stones of tomorrow’s engineers, programmers and scientists. We are excited to be part of the process and are grateful that TVA is making an investment in our community’s most precious resource…our children.”

Preference was given to those grant applications that explored environment, energy, economic, career development and community problem solving. Pandemic-related projects were also given special notice during the application process.

One caveat to receiving any of the grant monies was the stipulation that the school receives its electric power from a TVA distributor.

“Despite the new challenges Valley teachers faced in 2020, they are still focused on providing the best STEM education possible and have adjusted to new ways of teaching,” said Rachel Crickmar, senior program manager for community engagement.  “I am proud of the partnerships we have built with these amazing educators across the Tennessee Valley over the past few years and am pleased to be able to provide some support through this program. Through the grants awarded this year, over 72,000 students will be directly impacted across the Valley.”

For a full list of the grant recipients, log onto:  www.tvastem.com.