Chevron grants schools $62,000 for STEM


PASCAGOULA, Miss. (WLOX) — Chevron donated tens of thousands of dollars to schools in Jackson County on Wednesday.

It is an investment in the future of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

“Hopefully this will provide opportunities for students who may not have thought about engineering or math or science,” said Chevron Community Affairs representative Amy Brandenstein.

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 education for K-12 students.

It’s something Chevron supports every year.

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

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

“After speaking with several of my students after graduation, they wanted me to teach C++ so that we would be better prepared when they entered college,” she said. “So that’s what we do.”

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

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

But he said every dollar was worth it and the grants had an impact.

“I just appreciate that,” 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 will return to school to work on their projects. So they love it too. They would not return at 4:30 p.m. after leaving school for two hours.

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

“Obviously the pandemic has been difficult for everyone, but teachers in particular,” Brandenstein said. “And we felt it was only fitting to provide them with additional tools and resources.”

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

To date, approximately 35,000 local students have taken the nonprofit organization’s STEM courses.

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