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BASF donations benefit STEM programs across PA, Mid-County

NEDERLAND — BASF Total Petrochemicals LLC has been making donations to local school districts for a decade. Monday, Mid- and South County schools received $36,000 for elementary, middle school and high school level STEM and CTE programs.

Carol Hebert, a representative of BASF, said the program began when the plant realized it was important to give back to the communities in which they operate.

“We really want to make an impact in the STEM fields,” she said. “We want to get students excited in careers with science, technology, education and math. We heard from our educators that there were needs for various materials, so we thought this was a great way for us to give back.”

The grant is split up between the high schools, middle schools and elementary schools in Nederland ISD, Port Arthur ISD, Port Neches-Groves ISD and Bridge City ISD, with a separate Beaumont chapter.

“We realize that a lot of the science, technology and math programs are geared toward the middle and high school levels,” Hebert said. “The earlier we start getting those kids excited, the more likely they are to stick with those types of fields and career paths.”

Corresponding principals of each campus choose where and how to direct the funds.

“We want the funds to reach multiple students and more than one field,” Hebert said.

Nederland ISD received a $13,000 check this year to be split between the high school CTE program and the two middle schools.

Nederland High School Principal Steven Beagle said split the funds between math and science.

“This year, it’s science,” he said. “What they plan on using it for are 3D printers in the physics program. They are looking forward to the opportunity to have some applications to the things they are learning.”

C.O. Wilson and Central Middle Schools started STEM programs with past grants.

Other uses include buying inspire calculators, computers and chemistry lab equipment.

Business and community partners like BASF are crucial to the success of Nederland ISD, Superintendent Robin Perez said.

“The dollars donated through the BASF STEM grants will greatly benefit the students of our district in a number of ways, whether it be through curriculum or program support,” Perez said. “We look forward to working together for many years to come to provide the students and staff of Nederland ISD additional support across our campuses.”

Hebert said she enjoys watching how the grant has grown over the years, adding teachers have come to expect it.

“We want them to be excited and be thinking about future opportunities,” she said.

The BASF STEM grant is awarded by application only.

The responsibility falls on school districts to apply for the funds each year by providing why they need the grant and how they will utilize the money.