WTAJ Originals: Community Foundation STEM grants awarded

Daily Originals

A new toy is teaching students about science and technology and helping them build a bright future.

Meet Dash. Like his name suggests, he’s pretty quick: moving, turning and dancing all around this first grade classroom at Conemaugh Valley Elementary School Wednesday morning.

“It can talk. It can change colors. It can move directions. It can spin around. It can sing. It can dance. So, it makes it fun for them and they don’t realize the power that’s behind that toy,” said first grade teacher Michelle Miller.

Pretty soon, Dash will be joined by more of his robot friends.

The Community Foundation for the Alleghenies awarded $6,500 to the school’s coding and engineering program. The money will pay for iPads, software and robots for every first grade class at the school.

“We’re so excited because this is the future,” said Miller. “This is what these students have to have in order to succeed in the 21st century.”

This fall, the Foundation awarded $225,642 to 84 nonprofits throughout Cambria, Somerset and Bedford counties. One focus this year is helping schools by funding meals, clothing, music and STEM programs.

“Science, technology for young kids really helps advance them and is a really long-term investment in our communities,” said Mike Kane, the president of the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies.

With limited education funding across the state, teachers said they rely on grants and donations.

“The problem is the funding’s not there for education as much as it used to be and we need it now more than ever. So, it’s been a tremendous help for us to receive this grant and we’re very thankful,” said Miller.

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