News Release: 11/4/2020
St. Augustine, Fla. – November 4, 2020 – The St. Johns County Education Foundation, Inc. which operates as INK! (Investing in Kids), has an ongoing mission to provide innovative programs and classroom resources to promote the academic success of students in the St. Johns County School District, Fla. The 501(c)(3) nonprofit was recently honored with funding from Northrop Grumman to encourage public school education and to further science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) initiatives, along with promoting good citizenry and involvement in the community through the school year ending in 2021.
“INK! and Northrop Grumman maintain a unique partnership. Together, we support a STEM focused educational opportunity that cultivates the next generation workforce,” said Steve Blalock, Northrop Grumman director of General Manufacturing and member of INK! board of directors. “Investments like this consistently move students to meaningful employment. As a lifelong area resident, I benefited from related programs early on. Initiatives like these provide real-world training and tremendous opportunity for students to pursue careers at Northrop Grumman and other innovative companies in our community.”
The grant will support STEM opportunities for local students in elementary, middle and high schools to enhance a variety of initiatives including the Career Academy High School Showcase which markets STEM Career Academies, and for support of the Youth Character Awards which recognizes students with outstanding character. Additionally, the grant will cover costs associated with local, state and international science fair initiatives. Each program referenced above aligns with Northrop Grumman philanthropic initiatives.
“We are honored to be awarded the grant which concurs with INK!’s educational programs and services to promote STEM initiatives and exemplary student activities plus performance,” said Donna Lueders, INK! Executive Director. “Approximately 2,255 female and male students from seven to 18 years of age will benefit from the grant,” she said. “We strive for an interdisciplinary approach to public education where rigorous academic concepts and real-world lessons can be applied to STEM.”
Lueders added, many underserved students need to make connections between school, community, work, and the global enterprise to inspire their abilities and compete in a local and worldwide economy.”
Lueders explained that students who start behind in school tend to stay behind without proper intervention. Early intervention leads to higher graduation rates and, ultimately, better communities. She believes that her organization can provide the tools to close the literacy gap, and the opportunity to support many youngsters and their academic journey to success, especially science focused students, many of whom need special funding, programs and services to properly compete in the marketplace.
INK! provides innovative resources to support academic success for all St. Johns County public schools. The office is located at 1 Christopher St. in St. Augustine. For more information, contact Donna Lueders at 904-547-7120 or email Donna.Lueders@stjohns.k12.fl.us. Visit the website at www.ink-stjohns.org.