NJ science teacher's solar-powered greenhouse program wins $100k grant
Holbrow (left) being presented a check for $100k from van Eckert (right). Photo credit: CSG

Earlier this month, Laura Holborow was just a high-school science teacher from Edison, New Jersey. But on November 16th, she received a life-changing surprise. Holborow was one of five teachers across the country to win the Farmers Insurance "Thank America’s Teachers - Dream Big Teacher America Challenge" grant for her solar-powered greenhouse proposal. 

 

Local Agent, Edward van Eckert, paid a visit to John P. Stevens High School in Edison, New Jersey to give Holborow $100,000 in order to help her expand the school’s solar-powered greenhouse program. His visit was a complete surprise, as he awarded Holborow during a packed assembly in front of hundreds of students and the entire school faculty. 

 

Holborow’s proposal was to “purchase solar panels and code for an app that monitors and supports the school’s greenhouse and newly built community farm stand.” With this funding, her forward-thinking curriculum will require students to make their own solar-powered programs in collaboration with coders, designers, and engineers in the town of Edison. Holborow’s main goal is to “make the program as self-sustaining as possible by reducing the school’s electric bill and integrating a scientific approach to its high school curriculum”. Needless to say, it was a hit as votes for her proposal poured in before the October 30th deadline. 

 

 “It was an honor to be able to surprise Laura Holborow today with a $100,000 Dream Big Teacher Challenge grant from Farmers,”  Edward van Eckert, a Metuchen-based Farmers Insurance agent, happily exclaimed. “I am so grateful to the students of the school, their families, and the entire Edison community for coming together to get out the vote and support Ms. Holborow in making her ‘big dream’ become a reality.”

 

If you are interested in Ms. Holbrow’s solar-powered greenhouse proposal, check it out for yourself on YouTube to see why she struck a nerve with voters around the country. 

 

Since the start of the Thank America’s Teachers program in 2014, Farmers has awarded over $3 million to teachers looking to shake things up in creative ways. Farmers will be accepting proposal submissions in mid-January for their 2018 grants. So if you have a great idea, remember to send in your submission. You might just get the funding you are looking for!