Burks Elementary School awarded TVA STEM Grant 

From the left, front row are: Angel Miranda Solaj, Arianna Sparks, Kyler Kennedy, CJ Heady, Tristan Bush, Nevaeh Reynolds, Cayla Ledbetter Rafferty Cleary, Cultural Administrator for the City of Monterey; Bryan Johnson, TVA Program Manager and Government Relations; Mrs. Suzanne Goolsby, teacher at Burks Elementary School; Justice Miller; Sonya Rimmet, VEC; Alexis Tilton, Tempest Jones Mateo, Brooklyn Hassler, Zoe Elrod, Maggie Phillips, Maddie Hitchcock, Cheyenne Kilby, and Hillary Ordonez-Mejia. Back row, from the left: Diana Cook, Assistant Principal at Burks; Director of School Corby King; Heather Tinch, Principal at Burks; Yvonne Pickering, Congressman John Rose’s Office; Putnam County Mayor Randy Porter; Brianna Turner, Emma Tayes Farley, and Eli Tayes Farley.

PUTNAM COUNTY ― Burks Elementary School has been awarded a grant from the Tennessee Valley Authority, in partnership with Bicentennial Volunteers, Inc., a TVA retiree organization, to develop science, technology, engineering and math education projects to help spark student interest in future careers in STEM-related fields.

Teachers across TVA’s seven-state region applied for funding of up to $5,000 for projects, and 233 applications were selected.

“We are very happy to receive the grant money from TVA. Our kids in Mrs. Suzanne Goolsby’s class have created a plan for an outdoor classroom and gardens in the three to four-acre wetlands close by Burks. This grant money will help build that out and provide equipment so students can explore and learn about the environment surrounding them,” said Heather Tinch, Principal at Burks Elementary. 

“Mrs. Goolsby has truly made this a community project including the City of Monterey water department, local construction businesses, Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency and others to assist and educate as they build the outdoor classroom. We are very excited to see this vision come to life and grateful for TVA in providing funding for schools to help move us towards making this dream for our school a reality,” she added. 

Schools awarded grants must receive their power from a local power company served by TVA. Volunteer Energy Cooperative (VEC) powers Burks Elementary School. 

“TVA is committed to supporting STEM education to help develop today’s students into tomorrow’s engineers, scientists and IT professionals,” said Jeannette Mills, TVA Executive

Vice president and Chief External Relations Officer. “It’s inspiring to be able to contribute to the innovators of the next generation.”

Since 2018, TVA and BVI have awarded nearly $2 million in STEM grants to support local education.  

A full list of grant recipients and information on applying for a future STEM grant can be found at www.tvastem.com.

From l. to r.: Elijah Natvik, Tempest Jones, Hillary Ordonez, Emma Tayes-Farley, and Elijah Tayes-Farley.

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