Twelve local classrooms will now be enhanced with an extra $500 thanks to grants from Egyptian Electric Cooperative Association (EECA). For many years, EECA has offered the Touchstone Energy Classroom Empowerment Grants to schools within its service territory to help fund classroom projects. Because of the great response, the co-op decided to increase the number of recipients from 10 to 12.

“Teachers are resourceful and resilient, but they can always use some help,” EECA General Manager Shane Hermetz says. “We are aware that adequate funding for many schools is challenge. Commitment to Community is one of our Touchstone Energy core principles, and we are committed to the communities we serve and want to invest in the education of our youth.”

The purpose of each $500 grant is to help fund special classroom projects to enrich the students’ educational experience. The 12 projects that have been awarded the grants include:

  • Building Reading Skills with Multisensory Intervention – April Bartnick of Carruthers School in Murphysboro
  • Student Created Podcasts – Jessica Carsrud of Giant City School in Carbondale
  • Drones – Diane Chambers and Amanda Wetzler of Evansville Attendance Center and Sparta Lincoln School
  • STEM Activity Boxes – Shannon Gardner of Carruthers School in Murphysboro
  • Tapping into Student Interest Through Non-fiction Literature – Terri George of DeSoto Grade School
  • Creative Class Business – Daralynn Gross of Steeleville High School
  • Classroom Library – Cheryl Korando of Trico High School in Campbell Hill
  • Lego Mindstorms for Seventh Grade STEM Education – Kimberly Kraatz of Carterville Jr. High School
  • 3-D Printing to New Heights – Derek Miller of Marissa Jr./Sr. High School
  • Projector in the Classroom – Andrew Staff of Trinity Christian School in Carbondale
  • Technology with Coding – Donnie Torres of St. Andrew School in Murphysboro
  • Learning with Magnets in the REACH Room – Brandi Yates of DeSoto Grade School

The Classroom Empowerment Grants were offered and awarded to teachers or school administrators of public and private K-12 schools to help with projects that will improve educational opportunities for students. An impartial panel of judges evaluated the applications based on the projects that best serve the purpose of improving the learning environment and/or increasing educational resources for the school.

“On behalf of Egyptian Electric, I want to thank all of the educators who went the extra mile to apply for these grants and congratulate all the recipients,” Hermetz says. “We know these funds will be put to good use, and we look forward to offering these grants for years to come.”

Egyptian Electric Cooperative is a member of Touchstone Energy – an alliance of 730 local, consumer-owned electric utilities around the country. Egyptian Electric is committed to providing superior service based on four core principles: integrity, accountability, innovation and commitment to community. The co-op serves more than 15,000 meters over 2,000 miles of line in Jackson, Perry, Randolph, St. Clair, Washington and Williamson counties, and parts of Franklin, Johnson, Monroe and Union counties. For more information visit