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TVA partnership awards STEM grant to Hampton Elementary

BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR STAFF
ivan.sanders@elizabethton.com
Wednesday was a very special day for Hampton Elementary School thanks to a partnership between the Elizabethton Electric System and the Tennessee Valley Authority as well as Bicentennial Volunteers Incorporated (a TVA retiree organization) as a $5,000 check for a STEM education project.

The grant award was part of $800,000 in competitive STEM grants awarded to nearly 200 schools across TVA’s seven-state service territory.

Mr. Travis Ranshaw, a teacher at Hampton Elementary, had submitted the application to be considered for the grant.

Hampton Elementary Principal Brandon Carpenter said, “We are very grateful for contributors to education such as TVA and the Elizabethton Electric System. We are fortunate at Hampton Elementary to have teachers such as Mr. Ranshaw who strive to improve our students’ education.”

Ranshaw submitted the application in hopes of securing money to obtain needed equipment to help expand a news team that Ranshaw currently oversees at Hampton Elementary.

The funds will help to purchase three Macbook Airs and a color laser printer.

WDOG News, the call letters of the school’s news team to match the mascot, allows students to be exposed to broadcasting, interviewing, editing, and recording as well as other aspects of developing a news broadcast.

Due to COVID and social distancing, students didn’t have the proper access to the lone computer that had the programming needed to produce their broadcasts.

“We have green screens where we do the news,” said Ranshaw. “We have a weather girl as well as sports and entertainment.

“We also have one child that does something similar to Cable Country that goes to different places to interview people – he goes to the different places and interviews the people on location. He has gone as far as Gatlinburg and the Ark so he reports back in on that.”

The news is produced once a week and placed on the school’s website. Through the process, the students are allowed to see the process behind the scenes according to Ranshaw.

“Thank you for what you do,” said Chris Quillen, TVA Customer Service Manager. “We are honored as TVA and Elizabethton Electric to be here today to present you with a check for your dedication and creativity.”

Over 600 applications were submitted for consideration with preference given to grant applications that explored TVA’s primary area of focus – environment, energy, economic, and career development and community problem solving as well as pandemic-related projects. Schools that receive grant funding must receive their power from a TVA distributor.

“Despite the new challenges Valley teacher’s faced in 2020, 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 the program. Through the grants awarded this year, over 72,000 students will be directly impacted across the Valley.”

According to Quillen, 43 of the 200 approved grants were given to schools East of Harriman.

“There are 23 local power companies,” stated Christy Brooks – TVA Program Manager. “Up to $5,000 max can be awarded to schools with grants of various amounts given out.

“This is the third year of the program and the application process is done annually between October and December. During the months of January and February, the winners are notified.”

Brooks added that grants can be applied for any STEM-related education such as robotics or any other STEM projects. An example of grant funds being used was to purchase calculators for a rural high school to purchase enough calculators to help students pass the ACT and SAT college entrance tests.

Winners, like Ranshaw and Hampton Elementary, can reapply for grant funds.