The R.C. Durr Foundation is an invitational-only grant that allows high schools in northern Kentucky to submit proposals. The goal of the foundation is to provide technology resources to rural high schools to improve instruction and to prepare students with the skills needed in 21st century Careers. Augusta Independent was recently notified that three of its proposals had been awarded, including two $2,500 classroom level grants and the $25,000 school-level grant, totaling $30,000.
The first $2,500 classroom-level grant will provide four new computers for the school library. Currently, several of the computers are outdated, so this will allow those machines to be replaced. “Having new computers available in the media center will give students another place they can work on projects and research topics,” said School Media Specialist Cynthia Gibson.
The second $2,500 classroom-level grant, authored by English and Journalism Teacher Colleen Taylor, will be used to purchase a new digital camera and MacBook Air laptop. These items will be used to help create the yearbook and for student projects. According to Mrs. Taylor, “By having a quality student camera available, my students will be able to unleash their creativity and practice photography and videography skills for group presentations, demonstrations, and public speaking practice.” She explained that the MacBook would be a device where students can work on the yearbook, store and edit photographs, or create videos and other presentations.
The school-level grant of $25,000 was written for renewable energy equipment. Ten 50 Watt Complete Hybrid Wind and Solar Systems will be purchased. “Sources of wind in the Kentucky area can be minimal,” said Chris Mason, AIS Science Teacher and co-author of the grant. “However, we can receive wind amounts that are above average based on the association between wind and water currents. Since we are by the river, this can be an advantage for us. The best form of alternative energy from this product, though, will come from the solar panels.” The panels are attached to 12 volt DC batteries that, once charged, can be attached to power inverters which will convert the DC power into AC. These inverters include standard electrical outlets that will power any electrical device. Therefore, once the batteries are charged, they can power many electronic devices.
The second set of products purchased will be ten Horizon Energy Boxes. In addition to providing smaller scale versions of wind and solar energy, these kits include multiple methods of renewable energy, such as ethanol, salt water, and hydrogen fuel cells. “What we really plan to emphasize from this product is hydrogen fuel cells,” said Mason. Also to be purchased will be multimeters and a class set of scientific calculators. The multimeters will allow students to easily check the voltage and current generated by our sources of energy, providing an effective monitoring system, while the calculators will allow students to make the necessary calculations for the renewable/alternative energy systems.
“Typically, the expense involved in some of these projects, particularly of the renewable energy project, would prohibit our students from having such experiences,” Technology Director Tim Litteral stated. “We appreciate the generosity of the Durr Foundation to allow us to implement advanced technology in our school.”