Cove Creek Elementary School Looks Forward to Solar Array Program After Successful Fundraiser

Published Wednesday, June 13, 2018 at 9:49 am


Pictured, from left to right, are Grace Plummer and her two children, Haircut 101 Stylist Jezabel Lebatard and her two children (front right), Principle Kelly Walker and John Menna and his daughter.

By Hailey Blevins

At the beginning of the year, Cove Creek School was chosen to be the fifth recipient of NC GreenPower’s Solar Schools Grant Program.

With a $14,000 requirement to have the array system installed, Cove Creek School and the community of Watauga came together to provide their students with a greener education.

The school is making efforts to include the students in their efforts to become sustainable by having three to five teachers “attend some professional development workshops that NC GreenPower puts on. They’ll learn how to teach about solar rays specifically and incorporate it into NC teaching standards and curriculum,” according to Grace Plummer. The school wants the children to be able to observe and learn about the system. Plummer adds, “If all goes as expected, it is going to be out in the back of the school, south facing, but near the playground for students to see it.”

Between three to five educational PV systems that are fully equipped and grid tied will be put in with Blue Ridge Energy helping to get that set up. These educational panels are “fully operational systems, so it will produce clean energy for the school and offset some of our electricity costs,” says Plummer.

The school received a grant from NC Green Power Schools Program, which helped provide some funding, along with funds from the South State Employee’s Credit Union Foundation. They also raised funds themselves, which Haircut 101 helped out with by matching it. With the help of these organizations and many others, Cove Creek Elementary School joined around 15 to 20 schools in the state that are part of the program. They are the only school in Watauga County that is part of the program.

The entire Cove Creek and Watauga community came together in the effort to help Cove Creek School go solar.

Cove Creek has a mission and a vision for environmental sustainability. Principal Kelly Walker says, “We have lots of families, and lots of teachers and lots of kiddos who are committed to having Cove Creek look at sustainability and support for renewable energy. “

This is part of a larger initiative. The school has a Green Team that raises funds and lots of other parents are part of it. The school has activities throughout the year, like their Blooms and Buzz Day, which recognizes science and sustainable efforts. Sustainability is “something that is near and dear to our school,” says Principal Walker.

NC Green Schools recognized the school as a green school of excellence last year. Principal Walker adds, “It is what our community is interested in and it fits right into the sustainability of the community of Cove Creek. We’re going to incorporate it into the standards.”

Students, parents, and faculty are all looking forward to the addition of the Solar Array system. John Menna believes that it is about the future and the kids, saying “if we enable the kids to have a part in building a more sustainable future, they’re going to continue to have more of a part in building a sustainable future. One student, Josie Plummer, is looking forward to the addition as well, “I think it’s going to be really cool to have the solar panels at the school.”

The Cove Creek Community and the Watauga Community are examples of how everyone can come together to make their own community a more environmentally sustainable environment. Principle Walker adds, “We’re so grateful that we have a Cove Creek community and a larger Watauga community who will support this, recognizes the importance of it and recognizes that we have kids who are interested in it.“

All donors will be recognized at the groundbreaking and ribbon cutting ceremonies next spring and on the school’s website.

Other big sponsors:

Mast General Store

Haircut 101 – Cutathon

Blue Ridge Energy

Climate Voices US Group

High Country United Church of Christ

Solar Energy Systems

Larry Turnmout, individual donor

Sherman family



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