Mobile County Public Schools’ newest corporate neighbors – Amazon – donated $10,000 this week to support a summer STEM camp for JROTC students.
The hands-on camp, which focuses on science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, will take place June 3-7. Hundreds of JROTC students will complete hands-on projects, tour local businesses to learn about STEM jobs that are available locally, and participate in activities such as orienteering and rappelling.
“Through STEM and through the leadership skills these students are learning through JROTC, they will have a competitive edge,” said John Terzo, site leader at Amazon’s newest Sortation Center, which located in Theodore.
Terzo and others from Amazon visited with local JROTC students at the district’s Central Office for a check presentation. Terzo said “his mind was blown” and that he was extremely impressed with the students as they got up and spoke about what the camp has meant to them in years past.
“You learn so much more there than you do sitting in a classroom learning algebra,” said Cadet Col. Brooklyn Johnson, a student at Mary G. Montgomery High School who is the brigade commander for all of Mobile County Public Schools’ JROTC programs. “I’ve been twice now as we have toured Austal and BAE Systems, and other businesses, and I was inspired. I may build a ship one day. I may help the Navy and the United States of America through STEM.”
Cadet CSM Jayunaa Harris of Murphy High School said the STEM camp has been a life-changing experience for her. Even though she did not originally like math and science, the camp helped her to excel at it and enjoy it. “It was amazing, and I am excited that more students will have an opportunity to participate,” she said.
Cadet LTC Michael Pitts of Theodore High School said he plans to go to college and earn a mathematics degree, now that he has seen what you can do with it.
Terzo said Amazon likes to give back to its local communities. He said the company was attracted to this project because of its connection to both the military and STEM.
“We’re in their background, and they’re in ours,” he said, “so we want to be good partners with the school system.”
Lt. Col. Robert Barrow, JROTC coordinator for Mobile County Public Schools, thanked Amazon for its support. He said students from all 12 MCPSS high schools as well as from Saraland and Satsuma will attend this camp.
“To know that Amazon is here investing in the school system is wonderful,” said Mobile County Public Schools Superintendent Martha Peek. “The STEM Camp is a great program for a wonderful group of young people.”