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With new $60,000 lab, Richmond High is training a new crop of engineers

on March 14, 2011

Richmond High School now has a new state-of-the-art computer lab that will provide students with intensive engineering training. The lab is the result of a wide-ranging partnership between the school, the City of Richmond, the West Contra Costa Unified School District, Chevron, and Project Lead the Way—a national education nonprofit that helps schools to expand their work in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math.

Project Lead the Way is providing the curriculum for engineering courses being offered at Richmond High, and Chevron provided the funds to convert an ordinary classroom into a new $60,000 computer lab which houses 35 new Dell computers.

Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, who was at the ribbon-cutting ceremony last Wednesday to celebrate the new lab, said that the engineering training will open new doors for students. “It helps to give our students the opportunity to find those skills—through this high school; through this academy—and make their way into postive direction for further education and jobs that utilize those skills that they’ve learned here in the program,” McLaughlin said addressing a small crowd.

At the event, students showed off what they’ve been learning in the class, like 3-D modeling. One student, Jesus Hernandez, said he was thinking about dropping out of school until he enrolled in the engineering course.

State Director of Project Lead the Way, Duane Crum, said Hernandez’s story sums up the significance of the new lab. “What does that do for a high school, if you change the culture from students that come here and can’t wait to drop out to students that come and say, ‘Well okay, I’ll keep going to my math and science and English classes just as long as I can keep taking that engineering class?'”

There are 66 students enrolled in the engineering program at Richmond High.

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