ARDMORE – The STEM Lab invasion in north Alabama continues Tuesday with the latest ribbon cutting to open space for the educational discipline. But unlike kudzu, also known as “the vine that ate the South,” the former is a welcome addition to any community.
The Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematic (STEM) centers have recently opened in Sheffield at the Rescue Me Project center and on the campus of Alabama A&M.
Now, it’s Ardmore’s turn.
The labs are the result of a partnership between the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation and the Tennessee Valley Authority in supporting the STEM program, which is providing a $1.1 million grant for 27 centers in TVA’s seven-state jurisdiction. Each center receives six Chromebooks, a Tech Tub to safely store computers, a 3D printer, educational STEM products, a custom-designed curriculum tied to Next Generation Science Standards and other equipment.
“With the STEM lab, the youth at the Ardmore Boys & Girls Clubs will learn skills that will help them be competitive when they enter the area workforce,” Yolandia Eubanks, director of the Greater Ardmore Chamber of Commerce, told 256 Today. “We are thankful and fortunate that TVA and the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation are investing in our youth.’’
Tuesday’s ribbon cutting is 4 p.m. at 29865 Park Ave. Representatives from TVA and local leaders will be there to help celebrate the new STEM lab.
“The new and updated STEM lab at the Ardmore Boys & Girls Clubs will provide our community’s youth opportunities to explore robotics, engineering, and computer science using the latest technology,” said Jeremy Harbin, director of the Ardmore club chapter. “We are thankful for TVA and the Cal Ripken Foundation for their investment in Ardmore’s future.”
The Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization founded in 2001. According to its website, this program is designed to help at-risk youth to engage in age-appropriate STEM learning in a structured environment with trained teachers and mentors who make science, technology, engineering, and math compelling and fun.
“The new STEM lab at the Ardmore boys and girls club is just another way our local club has been built and improved year after year with support from our local community as well as national foundations,” Ben Whitt, a Boys and Girls Clubs board member, said. “This lab allows our kids to see and learn things in a hands-on environment they wouldn’t otherwise have. We are so proud of the new things happening at our club!”