DREMC-served schools receive grant funding

Three schools served by Duck River Electric Membership Corporation (DREMC), Marvin Wright Elementary in Maury County, Huntland School in Franklin County, and Westwood Middle School in Coffee County have been awarded a combined total of $11,500 in grants to support their respective STEM curriculums.

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), in partnership with Bicentennial Volunteers Incorporated, a TVA retiree organization, provided these grants as part of $1 million in funding awarded to schools across TVA’s seven-state service territory in support of science, technology, engineering, and math education projects.

“We congratulate these schools for receiving grants and for their creative plans to inspire students through STEM education,” says DREMC President and CEO Scott Spence. “STEM studies are fundamental to a well-rounded education, and it opens doors to high quality, rewarding jobs for students. These grants will further support these schools as they introduce their students to these subjects and spark their interest at a young age.”

Marvin Wright Elementary School plans to use their $1,500 grant to create experiences for students to experiment with various types of alternative energy. One type of alternative energy that they will be exploring is the possibilities of solar-generated energy.

The school has received previous TVA STEM grants over the past two years, receiving $1,500 in 2020 and $5,000 in 2021. These funds have been used to create vegetable garden beds, a rain barrel collection system, composting facilities, and outdoor classroom space.

Huntland School received $5,000 and will use the grant to offer its students an opportunity to participate in hydroponics. The goal is to offset purchasing some of the vegetables served in their cafeteria by growing their own vegetables, which are started in the hydroponics units.

Likewise, Westwood Middle School received $5,000 in funding through the grant program to bring new and exciting educational experiences through their STEM classes.

The STEM grant program is competitive with more than 330 grant applications submitted to TVA this year. The grants provide teachers an opportunity to apply for funding up to $5,000, and preference was given to grant applications that explore TVA’s primary areas of focus: environment, energy, economic and career development, and community problem-solving.

“Despite the continuing pandemic-related challenges Valley teachers faced in 2021, they are still focused on providing the best STEM education possible and have adjusted to new ways of teaching,” said Community Engagement Senior Program Manager Rachel Crickmar. “I am proud of the partnerships we have built with these amazing educators across the Tennessee Valley over the past few years and are pleased to be able to provide some support through this program.”

Grants have been awarded to schools in both urban and rural areas to meet the diverse needs of local communities. Across the Valley, educators submitted projects large and small, to further STEM education initiatives in the classroom – both in-person and virtual.

“The projects were all across the STEM spectrum,” said Crickmar. “It is so impressive to see what teachers across the Valley are doing to prepare the workforce of the future,” said Crickmar.

“There is a demand in the Valley for workforce development through STEM education, and I am pleased with the way TVA and its retirees are responding to that demand by supporting teachers and students in the classrooms,” adds Spence. “We’re looking forward to seeing the impact the schools’ STEM projects have.”

For the $1,500 STEM grant presentation at Marvin Wright Elementary were, from left, Scott Spence, President and CEO of DREMC; Connie Holland, STEM teacher; Melissa Joslin, STEM teacher; Marissa Massey, Principal; and Lori Brown, TVA Community Relations Specialist.
Present for the $5,000 STEM grant presentation to Huntland Schools were, from left, Scott Spence, President and CEO of DREMC; Suzanne Mitchell, Franklin County Director of CTE; Ken Bishop, Principal of Huntland Schools; Kim Collins, STEM teacher; and Lori Brown, TVA Community Relations Specialist.
At the $5,000 STEM grant presentation to Westwood Middle School were, from left, Scott Spence, president and CEO of DREMC; Dr. Mick Shuran, Manchester City Schools Director of Federal Programs; Jim Stone, Principal Westwood Middle School; Todd Reinholtz, STEM teacher; and Lori Brown, TVA Community Relations Specialist.