Cascade Middle Chosen by TVA for STEM Grant

Cascade Middle School (CMS) is one of 343 schools to be awarded a grant from the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) in partnership with Bicentennial Volunteers, Inc. (BVI), a TVA retiree organization, to develop science, technology, engineering, and math education programs for students that will inspire interest in STEM-related fields.

Educators from across TVA’s seven-state region applied for grants of up to $5,000, citing specific projects or programs they hoped to implement.

“This grant will help us offer hands-on activities and programs for students that develop skills to help solve real-world problems,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Tammy Garrett. “We know that opportunities in STEM fields are the jobs of the future, and TVA’s commitment to STEM education will allow us to begin preparing our students for those careers.”

Schools awarded grants must receive their power from a local power company served by TVA. CMS is served by Duck River Electric Membership Corporation (DREMC).

According to CMS Principal Susan Huff, the school will use their $2,500 grant to develop a study featuring a portion of the Duck River in Bedford County and the pollution problem in and on the river. “Ideally, the students will research the history of wildlife, the uses of the river, and the effects of pollution,” commented Huff. “The goal is for students to gain an appreciation for the Duck River and its wildlife and create a solution for the heavy traffic and pollution that is a problem for our community.”

CMS Seventh Grade Science Teacher Amanda Thompson, who applied for and is being awarded the STEM grant, explains that the goal is for students to understand the importance of and help find ways to protect the river and create a persuasive way to encourage the disposal of trash while fishing, camping, and floating the Duck River.

“We are excited to partner with Henry Horton Park Ranger Samantha Davenport and others helping with planning and visiting with CMS to share knowledge of the river and the importance of keeping it clean,” said Thompson. “I’m excited for our students and how this connects to our school and district career exploration expectations. Best of all, it has been rewarding to see students learn so much through this project about the Duck River and why it’s a treasure to be admired and protected.”

Thompson said the monies from the grant were used to purchase a classroom set of handheld digital cameras and tripods as well as water testing kits for measuring the river’s PH levels. Students record what they see and learn and report back to a larger audience at their school.

“We congratulate Cascade Middle School for receiving the grant to support STEM education and inspire the youth in Bedford County,” says DREMC Interim President and CEO Troy Crowell. “The Duck River spans much of the area that Duck River Electric serves, where we get our name. We look forward to seeing how the school applies the STEM project funding to encourage innovation and out-of-the-box thinking as you learn about the river and its importance to Middle Tennessee.”

“TVA is committed to supporting schools and educators who are inspiring an interest in STEM education in students across the Valley, as we know our young people will design and build the energy systems of the future,” said Jeannette Mills, TVA executive vice president, and chief external relations officer. “Providing resources and access to STEM education is key to inspiring innovation, and we’re proud to contribute to the next generation’s visionaries.”

Since 2018, TVA and BVI have awarded nearly $6 million in STEM grants to support local education. A complete list of grant recipients and information on how to apply for a future STEM grant can be found at www.tvastem.com.

Lucky Knott

Lucky Knott

One of Southern Tennessee's most experienced and recognized news broadcasters and play-by-play sportscasters. News and Sports Director for Rooster 101.5 FM, 93.9 The Duck and Whiskey Country 105.1, and 95.9. He is currently the play-by-play voice of the Coffee County Red Raiders (31 years) on The Rooster 101.5 and can be heard M-F broadcasting our local news. Lucky has done play-by-play for 3,993 (and counting) sports events on Radio & TV. He also served four years as the Public Information Officer for the Coffee Co. Sheriff's Dept. and taught Radio/TV for six years at Grundy County High School.

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