BASF grant helps fund Memorial High science equipment

Published 12:18 am Wednesday, January 8, 2020

BASF Total Petrochemicals LLC gifted the Memorial High School Science Department a $10,000 grant Tuesday to be used toward any STEM or CTE program.

Melony Puz, secondary science supervisor for PAISD said the funds are going directly towards new lab equipment for the high school.

“We are working very hard to push our children into the petrochemical business because of the plants we have around us,” she said. “This grant will enable our students to be able to get more specified kits to be able to do lab investigations to promote them in that direction. If we did not have this wonderful grant, we wouldn’t be able to purchase the equipment and the chemicals that go in it.”

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Puz said the grant gives students the opportunity to see what it is like to work hands-on in the petrochemical business.

“We are excited,” she said. “This year we are giving the funds to science so we can really beef up categories. We have a lot of pre-AP and AP chemistry classes, as well as physics, so we want to incorporate that along with our STEM classes for math, science and engineering.

“One of our science teachers is also working on getting 3D printers. We just want to funnel it all through and make it worthwhile for the kids to actually physically see a future in something for themselves.”

Puz said she is glad to accommodate student needs within the science and STEM fields.

“The kids ask all the time, ‘Are we going to do labs?’” she said. “Sometimes we have to tell them we do, but they are limited because of the funds that we have. They don’t always understand that. They think we should just be able to go get it. So through this grant we will be able to let them know exactly where all their materials come from.”

Puz has already begun looking into purchasing new science equipment, including beakers, flasks, test kits and chemical kits.

“We should be able to order everything in the next month and, hopefully, we will start doing labs by the end of the year,” she said.

Representative of BASF Total Petrochemicals Carol Hebert said she is pleased to be able to provide another local school with the award after making stops in Nederland ISD, Bridge City ISD and Port Neches-Groves ISD last year.

“BASF Total Petrochemicals annually provides STEM grant opportunities to our area schools that are near neighbors to our facility,” she said. “The Port Arthur School District applied so that they can provide materials and science-type equipment for the student programs here. So we were excited to be able to award $10,000 to go towards those programs.”