WELDON — Fifteen Weldon Middle School students are getting additional exposure to math and science.
The seventh graders are participating in the N.C. State University Mathematics and Science Education Network Pre-College Program.
The goal of the program is to prepare under-served students at the middle and high school levels (grades sixth through 12th) for entrance to a four-year college/university and for careers in education and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
“Our children are committed through the 12th grade that they will stay with the program,” said Cynthia Byrd, Weldon Middle principal.
The program serves 385 students in Northampton, Weldon City, Bertie, Franklin, Granville, Johnston, Wake and Warren counties.
Throughout the school year during eight weekends, students participate in Saturday Academies where they take STEM classes and robotics.
Through the program, students will be eligible for college scholarships.
Nan Everette, a seventh grade math teacher at Weldon Middle and a mathematics coach with the program, said the goal is to raise career awareness.
“We (Weldon City Schools) were chosen because this area is under-represented in STEM careers,” Everette said.
The Weldon Middle students had a chance to spend a week with 60 students from four other area middle schools during the summer living in a dorm at N.C. State, where they received summer enrichment in the areas of mathematics, science and technology.
Tyrese Turner had never done anything with robots before and enjoyed learning something new.
“It was a good experience,” he said. “It was awesome.”
Delvon McGee felt the summer was a great opportunity for him.
“I’m only 12, but I got a chance to live like a college student,” he said. “It was a chance of a lifetime.”
Diamond Manley agreed and said the experience of living on a college campus was priceless.
“We built robots,” she said. “It wasn’t hard and it was on our level.”
Parental involvement is key in the program.
Katrina Manley, mother of Diamond Manley, said the program has opened her daughter’s eyes to other possibilities.
“It has put her on the right path, and she’s more focused,” Katrina Manley said. “If she continues in the program, the outcome will be really great.”
In the grant for the program, it pays for transportation for parents to attend competitions when students participate.
“They don’t go every weekend,” Byrd said. “We are trying to build independence.”
Teachers also are part of the program in learning about technology that can help them in teaching.
Robin Davis, a business and technology teacher, said during the summer they had a chance to use iPod touch. They had a chance to use a program to create quick response codes along with learning about Google Earth and Google Chrome.
Students participating in the program are Valente Barnes, Kayla Davis, Tyreek Johnston, Kelonta Joyner, Daja Lynch, Diamond Manley, Delvon McGee, Khiyasiah Pone, Sincere Ponton, Silas Powell, Joquel Silver and Tyrese Turner.