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Challenger Middle School receives two unique grants

By Staff | Apr 10, 2012

Challenger Middle School has just received two special grants. One will allow for Microsoft certification for the middle schoolers and another to build a functional car powered by solar energy.

Principal Teri Cannady said she just learned Monday about the grant for Career and Professional Education Academies. Currently Dunbar Middle, Oak Hammock Middle and Caloosa Middle have CAPE Academies.

“The grant from CAPE IT Career Academy will provide an opportunity to get industry certification for Microsoft,” she said.

“It’s been offered to high schools, but this is new to middle schools,” she said.

Starting this kind of training could be invaluable to students, actually starting it at a younger age.

“It is more career and technical training,” she said, for a variety of student futures. “Not all go to college, so this could be something particularly useful for them in the future.”

The other grant was a $500 grant from Florida Power & Light Company to fund a classroom project called “Go! Go! Speed (Solar) Racer!”

The classroom project, which will be led by teacher David Ernst, has a goal of teaching students about renewable energy.

“I believe it is a great thing for students to learn about and to watch how the car operates solely from solar power,” said Cannady.

In today’s economy, science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education is becoming more crucial than ever to ensure the U.S.’s global competitiveness, said FPL officials.

The students will both design and build cars powered by solar energy. They’re not full size cars – more of the size of a bread box, said Ernst.

“What we are doing are solar power race cars for the Junior Solar Sprint, a school competition that will be held sometime after the FCATs,” he said “And we’ll be racing them on a nice sunny day.”

NJHS lock-in

Right before Easter break, the National Junior Honor Society students held a overnight lock-in, accompanied by teacher volunteers.

“It was from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., basically a 12-hour event to rally the students through team-building activities that incorporate the five ‘Ts’ of the National Honor Society,” said teacher Lisa Gumm.

“Melissa Binsfeld is the school’s sponsor of the NJHS and of Student Government. She did a tremendous amount of work for this.”

The school’s NJHS has over 60 student members, with over 40 attending the event.

“The ‘Five Ts’ the kids have to demonstrate is achievement in the areas of scholarship, character, citizenship, leadership and service.”

“It was a well organized night of activities for the kids that helped them to learn about the characteristics important to the honor society,” said Cannady. “I talked to students yesterday – it helped them in putting those things together, especially leadership. I think team building was a big factor too. We already have e-mails coming from parents thanking us for a wonderful learning opportunity for their children.”