This year marks the 31st anniversary of the Taylor County Commissioner’s Business Recognition Awards, which is given to businesses that make significant strides toward supporting local schools. In partnership with The Florida Department of Education and the Florida Chamber of Commerce, it gives businesses the opportunity to improve local schools and achieve long-term goals of bettering their communities.
GP’s own Foley Cellulose mill, representing Taylor county, was one of seven honorees. During this year’s awards ceremony, Commissioner Richard Corcoran announced that seven honorees were awarded $1,000 each to be reinvested in the program that the school districts and business partners have created.
Georgia-Pacific originally started their support to Taylor County schools with $1,000 and currently donate $10,000 (on average) annually to the Taylor County School district’s STEM team—encouraging interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics fields. This extraordinary donation funded a STEAM lab in the local primary school.
Benefits of STEAM in schools
A report from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce found that 65 percent of those with bachelor’s degrees in STEM fields earn more than master’s degrees in non-STEM occupations. STEAM-focused learning also provides unique ways of problem solving by introducing children to a “bigger picture” approach. It gives them the ability to deal with different people and different issues when entering the real world.
The Foley mill’s partnership with Taylor County Schools has paved the way for increased innovation in classrooms, including 3D printers in computer labs, robotics kits in primary classrooms, drones for secondary STEM clubs and yearly STEM carnivals designed by high school students and attended by second grade students. Students interested in STEM are now able to attend competitions at prominent organizations such as NASA and summer STEM camps.
Thanks to Foley’s support, local students can look forward to a brighter future and possibly one as a future engineer with GP!