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Chevron grants schools $62K for STEM

Published: May. 4, 2022 at 6:09 PM CDT
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PASCAGOULA, Miss. (WLOX) - Chevron awarded tens of thousands of dollars to schools across Jackson County Wednesday.

It’s an investment in the future of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

“Hopefully this will provide opportunities for students who maybe didn’t think about engineering or think about mathematics or science,” Chevron Community Affairs representative Amy Brandenstein said.

Chevron awarded $62,000 to 10 schools: St. Martin Middle, St. Martin High, East Central Middle, East Central High, Fab Lab, Moss Point High, Resurrection Catholic Elementary, Pascagoula High and Escatawpa.

The money goes to each school’s Project Lead The Way (PLTW) program, a course that provides interactive STEM training for K through 12 students.

It’s something Chevron supports every year.

“Oh, we wouldn’t be able to have the class without it,” Tammy Sampson, a PLTW teacher at East Central High said.

With her $5,000 grant, she plans to upgrade robotics.

“After talking with several of my students after they graduated, they wanted me to teach the C++ so that we’d be better prepared when they enter college,” she said. “So, that’s what we’re doing.”

From equipment and supplies to out-of-state competitions, St. Martin Middle teacher Cecil Murphy says the cost can rack up.

“Technology, engineering, mathematics: it’s expensive,” he said.

But he said it’s worth every dollar and the grants make an impact.

“I just enjoy it,” Murphy said. “I’ll drive the bus in the morning, teach all day, then come back. The kids come back after I get off my bus route. They’ll come back to school to work on their projects. So, they love it, too. They wouldn’t come back at 4:30 after they’ve been out of school for two hours.”

Chevron also provided the award recipients with industry-related gifts for Teacher Appreciation Week.

“Obviously, the pandemic has been hard on everyone, but teachers in particular,” Brandenstein said. “And we felt like it was very fitting just to provide them some extra tools and resources.”

Chevron has invested more than $1.1 million in Project Lead the Way in Mississippi.

To date, about 35,000 local students have engaged in the non-profit’s STEM coursework.

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