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Forging the way for the next generation of STEM leaders

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Jacksonville Commons Middle School’s STEM lab engages students and will hopefully spark interest in careers students never thought of before.

JCMS STEM teacher Amber Arvo will tell you this is the type of learning she wanted for students when it comes to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics education. It is a good way for students to learn things hands-on and learning is collaborative.

Jacksonville Commons Middle School received a $60,000 grant to fund the STEM lab initiative. Duke Energy Foundation gave a $500,000 grant to STEM East at the NCEast Alliance, which issues the grant money. Onslow County is one of six counties who received that funding.

Jacksonville Commons Middle School STEM lab course began in January. There are ten stations where students are grouped in pairs. The Paxton-Patterson Action Labs modules include robotics, alternative energy, flight, architecture, digital manufacturing, 3-D printing, laser technology, pneumatics and structural engineering/materials testing and drafting.

Students and staff formally christened their STEM Center during a ribbon cutting ceremony May 20. Representatives from Duke Energy, NCEast Alliance and Jacksonville-Onslow Chamber of Commerce as well as representatives from the county and school board attended the event.

In providing grants Duke Energy Foundation has made a commitment to developing the industry’s workforce of tomorrow.

JCMS Principal Gayle Pylant said the STEM Center will prepare students as they move on to Northside High School housing the district’s Advanced Applied STEM Academy Tower.

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