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Eastern KY school receives thousands in funding to support STEM

Ashland Middle School

Representatives from Marathon Petroleum made an appearance last month at an eastern Kentucky school to present thousands of dollars in funding.

Officials with Ashland Middle School said the $15,000 grant will improve multiple programs at their school, with much of the money going toward science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

David Sparks is a STEM teacher with AMS. He said last summer they recognized the robotics team needed an infusion of funds to bolster the program. Sparks said the school had received funding from Marathon Petroleum in the past, so he reached out to his contact there.

“He said, ‘okay, well, I think we can do something like that. What you do is get online and fill an application for a grant.’ So, we started that process,” Sparks said. “We had settled on $10,000, and then at the very last second my STEM teaching partner was just like, ‘we’ll just go for broke,’ so he put in $15,000 and that’s what we ended up receiving.”

Sparks said grants like this one allow the school to give their students valuable skills they wouldn’t gain elsewhere.

“They don’t just learn stuff from a classroom,” he said. “They’re getting a leg up on things for their futures and they carry that with them all the way down the line.”

The money will go toward the school’s robotics team, Sparks said, but that’s not all. AMS will use some of the money to purchase cameras for art and yearbook classes. The cash infusion will also allow the school to provide students in the school’s 3D printing lab different materials to work with.