Gayle Fiser, Darnell-Cookman science teacher, wins the PowerUP Jax Lightning Round!


From October 14 until October 28, community members voted daily among ten innovative PowerUP Jax projects through our Lightning Round. The PowerUP Jax Lightning Round received more than 5,100 votes and 191 social media shares in total!

We’re proud to announce Gayle Fiser is the winner of the second Lightning Round and she’ll receive an extra $150 toward her PowerUP Jax innovation grant! Learn about Gayle’s innovative projects from sushi experiments to this year’s photosynthesis and cellular respiration hands-on project.

Any student enrolled in AP Biology would tell you that photosynthesis and cellular respiration are two of the most difficult concepts in AP Biology. It’s tedious and not very fun for some students. Gayle’s innovative project will produce a micro-tube necklace that changes colors as algae beads photosynthesize and respire, as well as cool-designer pop-beads to make dynamic molecules involved in these processes. 

The Community First Cares Foundation, the charitable arm of Community First Credit Union, awarded 10 PowerUP Jax innovation grants this fall to public school teachers in Duval County. Each recipient will receive a $500 grant to support their in-class projects. A volunteer committee awarded the grants based on project proposals that were based on creativity and prioritized hands-on learning experiences to raise student achievement.

Check out the 10 winners and learn more about their innovative projects too. All of the PowerUP Jax innovation grant winners will be entered into the running for the Community First Innovation Prize, given out at the EDDY Awards in March. 

Congratulations to Gayle and all of the PowerUP Jax innovation grant winners!




of public schools in Duval County earned an "A," "B," or "C" in 2021-2022.