CRAVEN/CARTERET COUNTIES -

Thousands of dollars of grant money has been awarded to local teachers through the 'Bright Ideas' program through Carteret-Craven Electric Cooperative. The deadline for applications this year is coming to a close September, 19th.

To win a grant, teachers must present the board with a creative or hands-on idea. Teachers in Craven or Carteret County in K-12 grades can win up to $1,000 towards their idea.

Past winners say the grant has helped bring new materials into their grasp like net-books, iPods, Lego robots, and carbon fueled race cars.

"Schools are changing. It's not the same school that I went to. You have to change your approach." says four-time grant winner Ashley Alicea of WJ Gurganus Elementary.

This is the 20th year that Cooperative Electric companies across the state will be awarding Bright Ideas grants. To date, the program has distributed more than $9 million dollars statewide.

Many teachers use the money to upgrade their classroom's computer equipment. The materials bought can be used year after year. 

"Well the students are growing up with technology. So instead of just saying ok sit in rows and here's your text book; if they are growing up with this stuff, why not use it in the classroom where it's going to make them stronger." says Havelock Middle School teacher Rosemary Steinman.

To apply for a Bright Ideas grant, click here. So far this year only around 25 teachers have applied. Last year 36 area teachers received funding.