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News Eagle - Hawley, PA
  • Pipeline cash invests in school's goals

  • WALLENPAUPACK - Pike and Wayne counties are two of just three counties in Pennsylvania that lacks a career technical school. Dr. Joann Hudak, Assistant Superintendent at Wallenpaupack Area School District, said they are proceeding to build their own pre-engineering program to ready their students for the skilled workforce needed by modern industry.
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  • WALLENPAUPACK - Pike and Wayne counties are two of just three counties in Pennsylvania that lacks a career technical school. Dr. Joann Hudak, Assistant Superintendent at Wallenpaupack Area School District, said they are proceeding to build their own pre-engineering program to ready their students for the skilled workforce needed by modern industry.
        Welcoming a $30,000 check to help expand this vision at Wallenpaupack, Hudak thanked the Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, L.P., May 7th, for responding favorably to the District's grant application. Kinder Morgan is the parent company of Tennessee Gas Pipeline, which just completed a major upgrade to their line through northeast Pennsylvania, cutting through Wayne and Pike counties. The line was expanded to convey the enormous bounty of fossil fuel being drawn from the Marcelus Shale west of here.
        "We want a pipeline of kids going into your industry," Hudak remarked to Kinder Morgan representative Allen Fore, who was at the school delivering the check.
        Students at Wallenpaupack Area High School have opportunity to pursue a curriculum designed to set the stage for post-secondary education and to make informed career choices.
       One strategy employed and the recipient of the Kinder Morgan grant is referred to as STEM Education. STEM brings together Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. (They have added an "A" for art as well, referring to the program as "STEAM".)
      The oil and gas industry is only one example industry that their students may apply and find inspiration.
       In applying for the funds, HUD sought to qualify the misconception that Wallenpaupack is a "wealthy" school district because it is by the lake, a tourist haven surrounded with high value homes. The majority of the population resides in low-income housing. Approximately 57 percent of the school population qualifies for free or reduced lunch in the National School Lunch Program.
    ••• 3-D printing
       Fore as well as Rick Scharbonnier, of Kinder Morgan, were given a tour of the Computer Aided Design (CAD) Lab where are students are being introduced to the world of computer design and 3-D printing. Under the instruction of faculty member David Heckman, students receive a hands-on, real-world problem solving approach to learning. While learning the design process, the students learn to work as a team, build communication skills, and learn to think critically to solve problems.
       They explore such fields as astrodynamics, astronautics and space life sciences. Biological and engineering concepts are applied to biomechanics and robotics.
       Students are designing, testing and constructing circuits and devices such as smart phones and tablets.
       Heckman said that 85 students enrolled in this elective course for the first year. The second year of the program starts next semester, and approximately 120 students have signed up.
    Page 2 of 2 -     Using their computer designs, the 3-D printer builds up thin layers of plastic to create objects such as toys or computer keyboard feet. Using a supplied design, they fashioned a prosthetic, fully-functioning plastic human hand.
         The Kinder Morgan grant will pay for equipment and furnishing of the Fabrication Lab, which adjoins the CAD Lab classroom and is part of the same program.
    ••• Eyes on welding
       Dr. Hudak stated that they are interested in starting a welding program; none is offered at the school districts in Wayne or Pike. Lackawanna College has indicated they could come and teach the class. She said she would like to apply for another Kinder Morgan grant to start the program.
      The present $30,000 grant is linked to the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Northeast Upgrade project. Another grant was given last year to the National Park Service to allow Milford Beach to open and operate, during the federal budget sequestration process that was cutting funds.
      Aware of the temporary construction impact the pipeline project has on a community, Fore stated that creating partnerships is a way of making good on their pledge to be "good corporate citizens."
      In addition, Kinder Morgan has a foundation that provides an ongoing resources where school districts may apply, up to $5,000 a year per school.
       Dr.  Hudak said that $4,000 was received from the foundation for summer school camps this year. $2,000 is for STEM camps geared for Middle School students. There are three classes, Emerging STEM Careers of NEPA; the World of Science & Technology and Robotics for Middle School Students.
       Another $2,000 goes towards camps for High School students, focusing on Health Care and Environmental Career Linking Academy.
      

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