Midwest honors creativity, learning

Published 10:21 am Thursday, January 14, 2016

Students from 17 regional public schools will enjoy new opportunities this semester after Midwest Energy Cooperative awarded $30,476.20 in Strengthening Schools grants.

The grants are funded with partnership dollars from Touchstone Energy Cooperative.

A committee comprised of co-op members evaluated and scored 89 applications totaling more than $156,000, then determined the final awards without knowledge of the school, district or community. Committee members included Della Bundle of Cassopolis, Kathye Herrera of Morenci, and Melisa Shafer of Edwardsburg.

“It’s heart wrenching to not be able to give to every school, but wonderful that through true community spirit, we help bridge the gap where budgets fall increasingly short,” Bundle said, reflecting on the process after serving a second year on the committee. “For me, being a co-op member equaled being a satisfied customer, but when I joined this effort, my status changed from consumer to champion.”

Awards were presented to the following schools and projects:

• Bloomingdale High School, $2,466.72 for smart drone and accessories for digital curriculum

• Brandywine Elementary, $2,000 for special education classroom activity seating

• Cassopolis Ross Beatty Junior/Senior High School, $2,000 for technology for student-run art classes

• Centerville Junior High School, $1,800 for STEM program curriculum and materials

• Coloma Community Schools, $2,500 for a projector and interactive SMART board

• Dowagiac Middle School, $2,459.90 for Sphero and Galaxy tablets

• Dowagiac Union Schools, $1,300 for the Greenhouse Club

• Hudson Lincoln Elementary, $2,500 for Inspiron laptops

• Lawrence Junior/Senior High School, $2,500 for a “Newcomer” class

• Lenawee Intermediate School District, $2,500 for a watershed water quality data collection program

• Marcellus Elementary, $1,600 for music and physical education classroom supplies

• Mattawan Early Elementary, $300 for writing workshop program supplies

• Niles Howard-Ellis Elementary, $2,000 for Little Bit Science kits

• Onsted High School, $2,000 for digital art portfolio technology

• Paw Paw Later Elementary, $700 for English language learning program technology

• Tecumseh Middle School, $1,400 for after-school robotics club supplies

• Three Rivers Andrews Elementary, $450 for behavior modification/sensory toys

“It was truly a pleasure to honor the creativity and learning needs in our community through participating in the grant review,” Shafer said. “We all worked in a true cooperative manner to share our resources and I’m excited for the students’ opportunities that will result.”

Information and applications for the 2016-17 funding cycles will be available at TeamMidwest.com beginning in April.


Midwest Energy Cooperative is a member-owned electric utility providing electric distribution and an assortment of energy- and telecommunications-related programs and services to more than 35,000 customers in 11 counties in southern Michigan and northern Indiana and Ohio.