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From left, Dr. Jeff Langham, Elmore County Superintendent of Education/ Virginia Vilardi, Wetumpka High science department chair; Kim Adams, Alabama Power Foundation and Cindy Veazey, Wetumpka High principal. Adams presented a $15,000 check to the school this past Friday for the STEM Academy. Contributed photo
From left, Dr. Jeff Langham, Elmore County Superintendent of Education/ Virginia Vilardi, Wetumpka High science department chair; Kim Adams, Alabama Power Foundation and Cindy Veazey, Wetumpka High principal. Adams presented a $15,000 check to the school this past Friday for the STEM Academy. Contributed photo

Wetumpka High receives $15,000 grant

Published 5:46pm Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A grant from the Alabama Power Foundation presented this past week will put Wetumpka High School firmly on the road to development its proposed STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Academy. Kim Adams, manager of the Wetumpka and Tallassee business offices of Alabama Power Company delivered the $15,000 check to the school.

“Alabama Power Foundation is proud to support the STEM program at Wetumpka High,” said Adams. “As an electric utility, our business is heavily centered around the four basic principles of STEM and promoting it only strengthens our future.”

A board composed of five Wetumpka High staff members prepared a proposal for a STEM Academy at the school and shared it with various businesses. According to that proposal, STEM education is “based on the integration of those core subjects into all other disciplines creating a new education paradigm. STEM education removes the barriers between disciplines.”

The academy will be based on national standards and identified best practices. Much of the curriculum will be project-based. Students will be heavily involved in providing input in the academy.

Students who fulfill the requirements of the WHS STEM Academy will receive a STEM endorsement on their diplomas and also prepare them to enter STEM college programs or related occupations.

Initial needs to institute the STEM Academy include 15 computers and software dedicated for use by the Academy. The program will also involve the addition of related classroom subjects and a specific course of study that will begin during a student’s freshman year and continue throughout high school.

“The grant from Alabama Power Foundation will be used mostly for IT hardware and software,” said Virginia Vilardi, WHS science department chair. “We will put this money to good use as quickly as possible.”

Principal Cindy Veazey said she is excited about the support.

“This is a real boost for business-school collaboration,” she said.

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