Vincent Seefried, 15, rides through the Macomb Academy of Arts and Sciences in Armada as part of a physics lesson. Watching are Nicole Ewert, 14, in green top; Ashten Lindeman, 14; Kaitlyn Bushbaker, 15, and Christine Chorney, 14. All are from Armada. The girl at far left isn't identified.
Grants let regional math and science center expand kids' opportunities
January 23, 2008
BY PEGGY WALSH-SARNECKI
FREE PRESS EDUCATION WRITER
A regional math and science center open to students from Macomb, Oakland, Wayne and St. Clair counties who pass an entrance exam is getting the money it needs to expand its programs.
More than $600,000 will flow into the Macomb Academy of Arts and Sciences in the village of Armada from public and private sources, giving it equipment and access to technology rivaled by few high schools in the country -- and the space to add scores of students.
"Those grants give everybody so many opportunities to lead them into their future goals," said Jill Szydloski, an 18-year-old senior from Armada Township. She has taken part in a Motorola marketing project funded by a grant from the electronics giant.
"It was about business and marketing. I'm going to be attending U of M, and I want to go into marketing because of that program," she said.
The largest grant headed to the school is a 5-year, $500,000 award from the U.S. Department of Education intended to create opportunities for students in failing districts to take part in the program. The grant will enable the academy to expand by 120 students, from its current enrollment of 178, said Superintendent Arnold Kummerow.
The grant also helps with additional equipment, Kummerow said.
The school could benefit from an additional $30,000 federal grant awarded to the Michigan Educational Alliance -- a partnership of Armada and Utica schools, Michigan State University, and the Chong Qing Municipal Education Commission in China.
The alliance is considering using the grant as seed money for possible K-12 programs, including a one-week international studies program, international internships in Chinese businesses, international camps for students from both countries, virtual language tours for students and student and teacher exchanges.
Those programs are likely to be available to the academy's students.
The district also has two grants, totaling $90,000, from the Convergence Education Foundation. The larger of the grants provides equipment for motion analysis for physics, biomechanics and research. The school has five such systems for student research.
"We're the only high school in the country that now has this equipment, and we're third" in amount of equipment "to the United States Olympic Committee and the University of Minnesota," principal Elsie Ritzenhein said.
The school also benefits from a partnership with Motorola, which sends it market and product research assignments aimed at the teenage market.
Only five other high schools in the country have such partnerships.
"Armada has found just untold success in the opportunities we're offering our students and area students in the areas of math and science," Kummerow said.
Contact PEGGY WALSH-SARNECKI at 586-469-4681 or firstname.lastname@example.org.