Competes for $50,000 grant to support environmentally friendly efforts
By Meagan McGone
MELBOURNE BEACH --With increased school budget cuts, Gemini Elementary is constantly seeking out grant opportunities to support education among its students.
"One way to do this is apply for grants that align with Gemini's mission of increasing technology in the classrooms," said Jennifer Julian, assistant principal of the Melbourne Beach school.
In researching grant opportunities, school staff came across Clorox's "Power a Bright Future" grant program, which aims to give funding to seven schools that empower students to "green up their schools and clean up the world."
Now, Gemini Elementary is in the running for a $50,000 award, which would go toward purchasing green technology, including wireless responders that would allow teachers to immediately assess student knowledge, while reducing paper usage.
"The 'Power a Bright Future' grant would allow Gemini to address several of the challenges it faces and build on the momentum of our current green efforts," Ms. Julian said.
In August, the school started a Green Team to involve students, parents, teachers, administrators and the Melbourne Beach community in a coordinated effort to clean the campus and surrounding environment, as well as reduce waste and improve energy efficiency at the school.
Since its beginning, the Green Team has distributed paper recycling bins to all classrooms, coordinated weekly school-wide recycling collections, partnered with a textile-recycling company, planned a beach cleanup and developed a fundraising plan to acquire green technology for the school, Ms. Julian said.
"The Green Team's primary purpose is to teach kindergarten through sixth-grade students that they have the power and responsibility to positively impact their world through their choices and actions," she said. "This collaborative and comprehensive program will produce effective short and long-term solutions to reducing Gemini's environmental impact while serving the local and global community."
She said that the Melbourne Beach community has prided itself on leading technological advances, while preserving the irreplaceable environment, and she wants to see this continue.
"Over the past few years, Gemini and the Brevard County School District have been suffering from severe budget cuts and decreased school budgets," she said. "The school's ability to effectively educate the future of Florida's Space Coast is at risk. By winning the Clorox grant, we can educate our students with innovative technology while reducing environmental waste."
To win the grant to further support Gemini Elementary's green efforts, the school is asking everyone in the community to vote for the school online by visiting www.PowerABrightFuture.com.
To vote for Gemini Elementary by phone, text "pafb9400" to 95248. Voting lasts through Dec. 12.