In an effort to aid in the construction of a robotics facility for the Texas City Independent School District (TCISD), Marathon Petroleum’s Galveston Bay refinery decided to provide a $1 million donation.
The funding will support TCISD’s Foundation for the Future, which collaborates with the community and the school district to generate and distribute resources to enrich, maintain and expand TCISD programs. The new robotics facility will broaden robotics education across the school system.
“Our partnership with Marathon is the perfect venture because robotics can open up a whole new world to a diverse group of students and can allow them to have even more career-development options as a result,” said Jami Clark, TCISD Foundation for the Future board of directors’ president.
Clark added that rewarding careers exist in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), and robotics education helps to prepare students for thriving professions in these areas.
“It’s a priority of ours to invest locally in meaningful ways,” said Kevin Bogard, vice president of refining at Marathon’s Galveston Bay refinery. “This funding, which enables TCISD to purchase robotics equipment, is part of our larger commitment aimed at helping prepare today’s students to seize professional opportunities tomorrow.”
TCISD currently has competitive robotics teams across various elementary, middle and high schools throughout the district. Robotics classes are also offered at the high school curriculum level. A dedicated robotics facility is part of the school system’s current, long-range plan, which entails renovating a former gymnasium.
Once the former gym, located on the same property as the school system’s Industrial Trades Center (ITC) building, is updated, it will be ready to function as a multi-purpose robotics facility with equipment already secured and in hand by the Career & Technology Education (CTE) department.
“Robotics is a fun, STEM-focused tool that promotes creativity and teamwork and allows students to find innovative ways to incorporate their interests into what they build,” said Alexis Kopp, director of CTE for TCISD. “This partnership will allow TCISD students of all ages to further engage in hands-on learning with real-world and career-based applications, which will help prepare them for the competitive workforce of tomorrow.”
TCISD has recently hired Pfluger Architects to draw renderings for the renovations to turn the former gymnasium into the robotics facility. Once finished, the robotics facility will provide a central location for enhanced robotics curriculum, a home for TCISD’s award-winning robotics clubs and a location for robotics competitions.
“As members of this community, we’re grateful for the opportunity to make a positive impact for students,” added Bogard.
Marathon’s recent funding comes as an addition to prior support provided for TCISD’s CTE department, including its ITC building.