Spartanburg Community College (SCC) and the Cherokee County School District have received a second grant from The Timken Foundation of Canton, Ohio, in support of the LEGO Robotics Program in Cherokee County. This $75,000 grant raises The Timken Foundation’s contributions to this program to $175,000 and will allow SCC and Cherokee County Schools to expand the program to all elementary schools in the county in an effort to promote science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills to young students.
“Since its inception,The Timken Foundation has been an advocate of the LEGO Robotics Program, and we’re grateful for their continued support,” said Henry Giles, SCC interim president. “These grant funds will foster STEM learning in students and help them build the necessary skills to be competitive in the future technology-based workforce.”
"This program encourages kids to graduate from high school and continue on to college to develop skills necessary to obtain a great job in the expanding manufacturing sector,” explains John P. Milko, Timken plant manager at the Gaffney Bearing Plant. “This region is reinventing itself to become a manufacturing hub and a program of this nature is exactly what is needed to help the economy continue to improve.”
SCC’s LEGO Robotics Program began in the fall of 2011, with the participation of all the Cherokee County middle and high schools, as well as the Boys & Girls Club and Bethel Baptist Church. Funds from this second grant will cover the cost of additional LEGO Robotics kits and equipment to expand the program to all of the county’s elementary schools.
“We were ecstatic to hear this news about this grant, and we are so appreciative to SCC and Timken for their partnerships with our district,” said Dr. Quincie Moore, Cherokee County school superintendent. “I am excited that our elementary students will get to experience what our secondary students loved and enjoyed this past year, competing locally and possibly at the state level. This program supports the mission of our district and will help prepare our students for jobs in our community. You could not ask for a better win-win situation.”
SCC’s LEGO Robotics Program is based on a national model of discovery science: students enjoy learning when they are doing something that is fun. Using state-of-the-art materials and equipment provided by The LEGO Group, students from elementary school through college are introduced to STEM concepts and principles. They apply what they’re learning by building robots that can function in various ways.
In April, Cherokee County students put their robots to the test for the first time in the Cherokee County LEGO Robotics Competition sponsored by SCC, TTF and Duke Energy. The next countywide competition for the elementary and middle school teams, collectively known as the First LEGO League, will occur on February 2, 2013. The winners of this competition will compete in the statewide competition.
“These students are not only learning STEM skills, but also interpersonal and teamwork skills and doing so while having fun,” said Daryl Smith, executive director of SCC’s Cherokee County Campus. “They may not realize it yet, but these skills will help them in the future in various ways. SCC’s ultimate objective is to encourage students to consider careers in STEM related fields and to prepare them for those careers through our industrial and engineering technologies programs.”
For more information on the SCC LEGO Robotics Program, contact Daryl Smith, executive director of the SCC Cherokee County Campus at (864) 206-2702, toll-free 800-922-3679 or firstname.lastname@example.org.