14:15 PM

Perspective: Making a Difference

Jakins Chip 3751

It’s the end of the school year, and I’m sure plenty of students (and teachers!) are looking forward to summer. As a kid, I was so eager for summer to begin that the last day of school seemed like it lasted an eternity. I’m almost certain that the clock on the classroom wall moved slower that day. 

Looking back, I have great memories of all the summertime fun I had riding bikes with my cousins, fishing in the neighbor’s pond and swimming at the creek with my friends. And even though I looked forward to summer each year, I have just as many fond memories of my time in school. I was truly blessed to have some really great teachers along the way. The teachers that stand out in my mind often took a little extra time with me to offer some much-needed encouragement or guidance. For that, I’ll be forever grateful. 

Here at Jackson EMC, we’re grateful, too, for our local teachers' hard work and dedication. As your electric cooperative, we value the opportunity to help teachers make a difference in their classrooms. One of the core principles of cooperatives is “concern for community,” and our Bright Ideas grant program that supports teachers in the classroom is just one example of that principle in action. 

We’ve been funding Bright Ideas grants for teachers for the past seven years. This program allows educators to offer innovative lessons that otherwise wouldn’t be funded. Over the years, we’ve awarded Bright Ideas grants for really cool projects, including those incorporating 3-D printers, artificial intelligence, virtual reality and more. This issue of JEMCO News gives you some insights into what some of those projects look like. 

You may also be familiar with our other educational programs like the Washington Youth Tour, which offers a weeklong leadership development opportunity for selected students to go to Washington, D.C. We’ve been sending delegates to participate in that experience in our nation's capital since 1971. 

And for almost 70 years, we’ve sponsored and supported local FFA chapters and 4-H clubs, including the FFA wiring contest and the quality beef show for FFA and 4H students. In addition, we support high school athletics through our partnership with Georgia EMC to sponsor the Georgia High School Association. 

We also support local students through scholarships. Each year, we accept applications for the Walter Harrison Scholarship, sponsored by electric cooperatives in Georgia. We also offer the A.T. Sharpton Scholarship to eligible students attending the University of North Georgia who are from one of the 10 counties we serve. 

We know that keeping the lights on is our core responsibility, but “concern for community” is the heart and soul of who we are. As a cooperative, we’re proud of our role to a make a difference for students and teachers. And until next year, get out there and enjoy your summer! 

Have a story to share about a teacher that’s special to you? Share it with me at [email protected]