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Tech companies provide grants for Smackover-Norphlet schools

Posted on January 14, 2019

By Michael Shine
Staff Writer

Smackover High School is improving its makerspace for students with the assistance of grants from local tech companies. Grants will also go toward Norphlet Middle School STEM classes.

Curriculum Director Jennifer Lee said the school is receiving grants from Lockheed Martin – who also sponsors the annual STEM night at Norphlet Middle School – Aerojet Rocketdyne and LANXESS. Altogether, the grants total around $10k.

Lockheed Martin gave the district a $5,000 grant, with $2,000 of it going toward the STEM night in November and the rest going to the high school makerspace.

Makerspaces provide hands-on, creative ways for students to design, experiment, build and invent. They’re typically a mixture of science lab, wood shop, computer lab and art room.

Lee said the Lockheed Martin grant is geared toward building and supporting future engineers. It will be going toward purchasing 3D printers and materials for the bench mill that the space already has to help students design with wood and plastic.

The grant from Aerojet, of $1,000, will also go toward the makerspace for students to have a variety of ways to work with wood and plastic in their engineering classes.

“It’s expanding the things that they (students) can do,” Lee said.

LANXESS issued a $7,451 grant focused on opening a gateway to STEM education within the Smackover-Norphlet School District. The funding will go toward material and supplies at the middle school for their STEM classes. As part of the required curriculum at Norphlet Middle School, students have to take two STEM classes each year.

“This covered all the material and supplies for all of these classes,” Lee said. “We are very thankful for their donation and their support of our engineering programs.”

Michael Shine may be reached at 870-862-6611 or . Follow him on Twitter and like him on Facebook @MichaelAZShine for updates on Union County school news.