What Will $90,000 Do?

It is a question posed in 1994 in Mason, Michigan when William and Claire Dart shared an interest in education, more specifically in science, technology, engineering, and math.

Current President of Dart Container Corporation and Vice President of Dart Foundation, James Lammers says, “It is through education that kids, as they move into adulthood, gain skills and experience that really put them into position to both have meaningful lives for themselves and also help contribute to society in a variety of different ways.”

On August 22nd local Dart Foundation members and Quitman School District employees stood together in front of the district’s central offices. There they posed with a $90,000 check from the Dart Foundation to Quitman School District.Representatives from Dart Foundation and Quitman School District pose for a photo with the check for $90,000.

What will $90,000 do at Quitman School District? It will do exactly what William and Claire Dart knew it would. QSD Federal Programs Director Dr. Minnie Dace explains,

“We applied for the Mississippi Department of Education’s K-8 STEM Initiative Enhancement Project but didn’t get it. So I was on the lookout for money to help us fund what we knew would be great for the kids of Quitman School District. Last March I got an email about a $5,000 grant from Dart, and I called Tracy Goulding and said, ‘This is what we want to do. Can you help me?’ She sent me the information about larger grants that Dart was doing. We worked for two days to meet MDE guidelines/specifications for the grant. I then used that to apply for the Dart grant. When I heard we got the grant I am sure that everyone in the hallways of the central office as well as down the street heard me yelling. I was so excited we got it!”

Now the students of Quitman School District’s Lower Elementary, Upper Elementary, and Junior High will reap the benefits of the shared vision of the Dart Foundation and the schools’ administrators and teachers. Thirty thousand dollars will be spent by each school as they purchase software, necessary equipment, materials needed to support implementation of STEM activities, and provide professional development for their teachers. In the STEM Initiative, teachers will focus on robotics and engineering using LEGO EV3 and Rokenbok. Quitman School District’s overall goal is to establish a well-rounded STEM program that will be able to successfully compete around the state and world.

The K-8 STEM Initiative Enhancement Project will begin on October 1, 2018, but much work has already been done. A very special thank you goes out to local Dart Foundation committee members Katina Gowdy, Robert Hicks, Mary Jo Ivey, Debra Douglas, April Terrell, Jerry Hinton, Jeremy Holifield, Billy Wilson, Jeraldean Stokes, Kisha Mathis, Latoia Wallace, James Grayson, and Ranessa Ford as well as Quitman School District grant writers Minnie Dace, Tracy Dearing, Cynthia Napp, Chrissy Kelly, Laney Brown, Elise Slay, and Elizabeth Fisher. Also, our gratitude extends to our administrators Toriano Holloway, Amanda Allen, Leah Ivey, and Bill Russell for their continued support.