New $50,000 investment in Clay STEM programming from Amazon, STEM2 Hub, and education foundation
Five Clay County teachers received special deliveries from Amazon on Oct. 10, as employees from the online retail giant’s distribution centers near Jacksonville International Airport and Cecil Park Commerce Center teamed up with the Clay County Education Foundation and the Northeast Florida Regional STEM2 Hub to deliver surprises from classroom wish lists the teachers submitted last year, along with $3,000 checks to each teacher to purchase additional supplies for STEM lessons and activities.
“Science, technology, engineering, and math programs are critical to a student’s education. We recognize that, and we also recognize that a lot of teachers sacrifice quite a bit to make sure that happens for their students,” said Bernard Schmidt, one of the Amazon facility leaders.
“STEM, and particularly computer science education, has such far-reaching benefits for our students and the future workforce. We are really excited to have partners like the STEM2 Hub and Amazon to help guide this work,” said Matthew Hutchins, district manager for Wells Fargo and president of the Clay County Education Foundation.
Florida is the only state that leverages corporate contributions to education foundations serving local school districts by matching those donations dollar for dollar with state funds, according to Mary Chance, the executive director of the Consortium of Florida Education Foundations. Because of that, CCEF was able to double the initial $25,000 donation from the STEM2 Hub and Amazon.
Superintendent Addison Davis stood with the schools’ corporate and nonprofit partners behind the giant $50,000 check as they celebrated the good news for the district’s STEM programs. The group later visited Angela Love at S. Bryan Jennings Elementary, Shirley Neidermeier at W. E. Cherry Elementary, Bryan Corless at Lakeside Elementary, Heather Graves at Charles E. Bennett Elementary, and Lisa Buxton at to surprise them with their wish list items and checks.
“Do you guys see this?!” Graves asked her class excitedly as an Amazon team member presented her with her check. Her eyes welled up with tears, and she shook his hand. “Thank you so much!”
“We exist for the sole purpose of trying to accelerate STEM learning and develop young people for jobs that, at this point in time, we can’t even describe what they are. That’s the challenge: to prepare them foundationally, so that they are ready for whatever technology changes bring our way. So we’re excited to work with partners like Amazon to get this kind of work moving forward,” said Robb Copeland, the executive director of the Northeast Florida Regional STEM2 Hub.