Cedarville High School was awarded a $10,000 matching grant to go toward technical equipment for its environmental and spatial technology program.

Jennifer Hightower, Cedarville High School environmental and spatial technology (EAST) facilitator, said the EAST Upgrade Grant money was used to purchase two digital cameras and equipment, a video camera, two Mac computers, and professional level video editing software.

“The kids were really excited - it was just like Christmas,” Hightower said. “When the boxes come in, they’re the ones that get to open everything and get it set up.”

Hightower applied for the grant at the end of the 2015-16 school year, she said. The district was notified of receiving the grant at the beginning of the current school year.

EAST Initiative offers the non-competitive matching grant in cooperation with the Arkansas Department of Education. As part of the matching grant, the school district contributed half, or $5,000, to the total grant award of $10,000.

While EAST programs are expected to plan for costs and maintain their own equipment, the grant provides support that allows programs to upgrade that equipment if needed.

Schools who receive the grant can only apply for it again after five years, Hightower said.

Cedarville offers EAST classed for students in grades 9-12. EAST is a community-based, self-directed class in which students choose projects that allow them to use their technology to impact the community.

Cedarville EAST students are doing work on two main projects, including a video project that will require use of the new equipment, Hightower said.

“We have a group of students who are working with 4-H to create a promotional video…to help 4-H get more children involved,” Hightower said.

Students also are working to map the small cemeteries located within the school district with the goal of logging the results in an online cemetery database for Sebastian and Crawford county cemeteries, Hightower said.