Kirsten Wyatt (PBL Agriculture Teacher), Jeff Blackford (EIEC Employee), Travis Duley (PBL HS Principal), and Agriculture students- Keyan Kirkley, Grant Deatrick, Daniel Busby, Zoe Butzow, Jordan Walder, Emma Steiner, Maisy Johnson, and Abigail Teske.

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Kirsten Wyatt, PBL High School Agriculture teacher, has been awarded a $500 Empowering Education Grant from Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative, according to information provided. Wyatt is using the grant to go towards the PlasmaCam CNC Plasma Table System that will provide a modern hands-on learning opportunity in metalworking, design, and fabrication for students at PBL High School.

Through Eastern Illini’s Empowering Education Grant Program, 37 deserving teachers were recently awarded $500 grants. The annual grant program is part of a Eastern Illini’s initiative to support school districts in the cooperative’s service territory. Empowering Education Grants are intended to help fund projects that will inspire and engage students.

“We couldn’t be more pleased with the interest generated and the quality of the submissions received for the Empowering Education Grant Program,” said Mike Wilson, Vice President Member and Community Relations for EIEC. “After careful review, we are excited about the school projects that have been selected to be funded. They cover a wide range of topics from STEM projects to flexible seating to raised gardens. The submissions were creative, well thought out and covered a wide array of topics.”

The grants were awarded based on several factors, including how many students the project impacts, how innovative the project is, and how the project fosters creative learning experiences for students.

Eastern Illini’s President/CEO Bob Hunzinger noted, “We are excited to be able to help students in our communities. With our service territory being so spread out, we think this grant program is a practical way to reach our entire service territory.”

Hunzinger continued, “School funding is often tenuous. We hope these $500 grants will give teachers the opportunity to engage their students with projects that otherwise wouldn’t be funded.”

The Empowering Education Grant Program seeks to support Eastern Illini’s commitment to education and the 7th Cooperative Principle: Concern for Community. Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative is a member-owned business providing electric service to over 13,000 meters in ten counties throughout east central Illinois. EIEC operates and maintains more than 4,500 miles of energized lines. Eastern Illini is member driven and community focused. Follow Eastern Illini on Facebook and visit for more information.