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Leading the Way to STEM success at John Hardin

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Dow Corning, Central Kentucky Community Foundation rewards school $25k

By Anna Taylor

For John Hardin High School students this fall, participating in Project Lead The Way no longer requires a bus trip to Central Hardin High School.

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On Monday, Dow Corning Corp. presented the school with $25,000 to pay for the project for the 2014-15 academic year. The money came from the Dow Corning Donor Advised Fund through the Central Kentucky Community Foundation. Pam Bowling of Dow Corning presented the check to Hardin County Schools Superintendent Nannette Johnston.

“We would not be able to give our students so many wonderful and unprecedented opportunities without the help of our community,” Johnston said. “Dow Corning Foundation and Hardin County Schools have a long-standing partnership. This $25,000 gift is another example of their dedication to supporting student success.”

Project Lead the Way is a national nonprofit organization based in Indiana that creates science, technology, engineering and math curricula for schools. The effort is meant to help prepare students for STEM jobs before they go to college.

“The Dow Corning Foundation has supported STEM education for years,” Bowling said. “Dow Corning employs engineers, so we consider inspiring young people to study engineering a win-win.”

The check will go toward start-up costs such as equipment, software and tools, said Lynne Gibson, John Hardin High School principal. The school plans to hire a new teacher for the program.

“(John Hardin) has very strong Career Technical Education programs already,” Gibson said. “(STEM) is the life for these kids now. All of the jobs today are leading to those kinds of skills. Project Lead the Way gives them an advantage.”

Johnston could not agree more, she said.

“If they have this foundational knowledge with Project Lead the Way, that could lead them to a job and successful career,” she said.

In the past year, 20 freshmen had to travel by bus to Central Hardin in order to be a part of the program. Next year, these students, as well as incoming freshmen, can stay at John Hardin to participate.

Izaak Magdich, a freshman at John Hardin, hopes to become an aerospace engineer and is excited to have more time to learn at his school instead of spending unnecessary time on a bus.

“I’ll get to spend more time in class now and can learn more about aerospace,” he said.

Izaak and classmate Josh Judge, agreed they will gain an extra hour of class for PLTW with the new donation.

Central and North Hardin high schools and J.T. Alton Middle School have established Project Lead The Way STEM-focused programs in the district. Johnston said the school district would like to have all middle schools in the district become PLTW/STEM schools.

Anna Taylor can be reached at 270-505-1747 or ataylor@thenewsenterprise.com.