A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Amazon provides Holmes Middle School students with more than $10,000 in STEM education supplies

By Mark Hansel
NKyTribune managing editor

Amazon surprised students at Holmes Middle School with a $10,000 donation of new STEM tools during an event Thursday afternoon.

Students at Holmes Middle School in Covington had no idea that the boxes they were opening were just a small portion of the gifts contributed by Amazon. Minutes after they began opening the boxes, the stage behind them opened to reveal the bulk of more than $10,000 in STEM-related educational tools, including two 3-D printers (photos by Mark Hansel).

Principal Jeanetta Kathman led the event with remarks by Amazon’s Chris Bateman and Covington Mayor Joseph Meyer.

Bateman said this type of equipment can be interactive and was specifically chosen because it is intended to be used in the classroom.

“Technology has become an integral part of education,” Bateman said. “We recognize that the need for technology and for having it in the classroom, is critical.”

A dozen local associates from fulfillment centers in Hebron unveiled a stage full of STEM-related supplies including two 3D printers, VEX robotics kits, Raspberry Pi build-your-own computers and science kits.

Meyer told the students that this is the most important time of their lives and that the days when a strong back allowed a person to get a good job are gone.

“If you get a good education, finish your high school and get a postsecondary diploma or certificate, the amount of money you make will rise significantly,” Meyer said. “In this day and age, the way the world is changing, the way technology is changing, to get a good job, you’ve got to be well-trained. If you can do it without thinking, a robot can do it faster and easier and less expensively.”

Students who gathered in the auditorium at around 1 p.m. had no idea they were receiving such a generous gift from Amazon.

Bateman first let the students open boxes that contained spools and other supplies before revealing the 3-D printers and additional donation items on the auditorium stage. At the conclusion of the program, students were able to walk onto the stage and get a closer look at the supplies and thank the Amazon fulfillment center employees that delivered them.

The gift will help provide teachers with the right kind of resources to make learning fun and interactive for students while developing critical skills future jobs.

Covington Mayor Joseph Meyer speaks to Holmes Middle School students about the importance of STEM education in a competitive and highly skilled workforce.

STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education has increasingly become a focus in classrooms because the skills obtained can provide students to enter the workforce with a wide range of employment opportunities.

Kathman said classroom tools that directly focus on STEM education are critical because workforce requirements are changing rapidly.

“We need to prepare them for a future that we don’t know,” Kathman said. “When they graduate high school in five to seven years, who knows what the workforce might look like.”

Dan Tobergte, president and CEO of the Northern Kentucky Tri-County Economic Development Corporation (Tri-ED) said a skilled and educated workforce is critical to maintaining and improving the region’s economy.

“It’s great to see corporate leaders like Amazon come forth and recognize the importance of educating our youth,” Tobergte said. “This is a gesture that is going to have wide-ranging impacts on not only these students, but across our region.”

Kathman said it also showed foresight for Amazon to provide the supplies to a middle school because students need to start obtaining workforce skills before high school.

“I think that’s something we have to think about as middle school educators as well,” Kathman said. “By the time they get to high school, they have to be thinking about a pathway, be it college or a vocational training program. There are a lot of possibilities and they don’t always require a college degree anymore.”

Two 3-D printers were among more than $10,000 in STEM related educational gifts contributed to Holmes Middle School students by Amazon.

Covington Schools Superintendent Alvin Garrison said community partners such as Amazon are critical to the success of a school system.

“It means so much to provide these learning opportunities for our students,” Garrison said. “For a company like Amazon to partner with Holmes Middle School and to bring opportunities that we may not otherwise have in our normal day-to-day activities, is just so amazing.”

The donation is part of Amazon’s commitment to give back to the communities where associates work and live. Amazon employs 10,000 full-time employees throughout Kentucky, including more than 950 at its fulfillment center in Hebron. The company also employs thousands of additional part-time and seasonal workers during the peak holiday season, many of which transition to full-time.

Kathman said when Amazon contacted her about a contribution in excess of $10,000, she almost couldn’t believe it.

“That’s not an amount of money that is easy for us in these times to just come up with, and the resources they have provided are just amazing,” Kathman said. “They support our standards, they support our curriculum. It’s very exciting and I’m hoping it’s just the beginning of a long-term partnership.”

Contact Mark Hansel at mark.hansel@nkytrib.com

Related Posts

Leave a Comment