Return to Headlines

PRECO awards more than $10,000 in grants to Manatee County teachers

Peace River Electric Cooperative’s Operation Round Up Foundation recently announced awards totaling $10,258 for Manatee County teachers.

The Teacher Mini-Grant program supports innovative and engaging learning experiences for students in schools.

In total, $15,000 in grants were approved for 35 classrooms at 19 schools in Manatee, Hardee, Highlands and Hillsborough Counties.

PRECO recognizes that educators often need alternative funding sources to enrich learning and provide their students with the best possible education.

The most creative, passionate proposals were granted, supporting a wide range of projects including:


  • The purchase of a large selection of board games for Gifted students at Bashaw, Willis and Witt Elementary Schools. Lisa Boyer is the Gifted and Talented Teacher who applied for the grant. “I’m so grateful to receive the funds and provide these games to students,” she said. “They will help develop social skills, increase confidence and promote creativity, among other things.”

  • An exciting field trip to the Bishop Museum of Science and Nature for second grade students from Myakka City Elementary School. “We look forward to visiting the manatees, viewing artifacts from early inhabitants of Florida, and immersing ourselves in a planetarium show,” said Karen Washington, second grade teacher. “We’re grateful that PRECO has awarded this grant to us to enhance the students’ learning experiences.”

  • New learning kits and lab activities for the Agriscience classroom at Myakka City Elementary School. “This year’s project called ‘Littles Loving Agriculture’ will offer hands-on experiences and reinforce reading and math skills,” said teacher, Temple Bunyak. “I teach agriculture to students in grades kindergarten through fifth grade and believe these lab kits will reinforce student learning.”

  • The purchase of materials for a flame lab, which will be conducted by chemistry and forensic science students at Parrish Community High School. According to Forensic Science & Chemistry Teacher Jessica Beihl, students will conduct flame tests using known and unknown chemical salts to determine the element in each sample. This real-world test is used in professional labs to help solve crimes.

  • Brand new Sunshine State Young Readers Award (SSYRA) books for Kelsey Cobb’s third grade classroom at Tara Elementary School. Her students have already received brand new books that will motivate them to read and learn new things every day!


  • Other schools/teachers receiving grants include: Braden River Elementary (Tamara Peters), Braden River Middle (Kathleen Brown/Andre Bryant/Josue Nunez), Freedom Elementary (Cary Laboy), Harvey Elementary (Heather Dragon/Elizabeth Harris/Mary Ann Miller/Susan Nova/Traci Smeralda), Lincoln Memorial Middle (Emilee Sweetland), Nolan Middle (Gina Chiapetta), Palmetto High (Karri Blalock), Parrish Community High (Elise Spiller), Tara Elementary (Kevin Olson), Williams Elementary (Tiffany Gallegos/Shannon Josey) and Willis Elementary (Susan Goodhue).  

Funds for the program come from the generosity of PRECO members who opt to have their monthly electricity bills rounded up to the next dollar.