EUNICE — Smiles abounded at Mettie Jordan Elementary School as a state-of-the-art science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) center was unveiled recently.
The project was a joint effort between longtime partners Devon Energy and the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation — it was the first new STEM center installed by the organizations since the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020.
Devon and the Ripken Foundation last partnered in fall 2019 to open southeastern New Mexico’s first STEM centers at Broadmoor and College Lane elementary schools in Hobbs and one at the Boys & Girls Club of Carlsbad, which serves more than 100 elementary students daily. In March of 2020, they partnered again to open seven STEM centers in Artesia.
Established on April 8, the Eunice Elementary STEM center is equipped with high-tech tools like 3D printers, Code Hoppers, Snap Circuits, Bee-Bots, Ozobots and several other tools, allowing students to tinker with technology and expand their horizons to develop skills that can be utilized for years to come. The Ripken Foundation also provided virtual training for all teachers who will work with student groups.
“Introducing elementary students to STEM through these tools helps develop their critical-thinking skills from a young age and set them up for future success,” said Carey Lindner, Mettie Jordan principal. “We can’t wait to see how the STEM center will benefit our students for generations.”
Devon Senior Community Relations Specialist Shannon Johnson said the company is committed to strengthening educational opportunities in its operating areas.
“By giving local kids the chance to express their creativity and hone their technological skills, Devon is helping inspire tomorrow’s innovative STEM leaders,” Johnson said. “Our partnership with the Ripken Foundation acts as a catalyst for sparking Eunice students’ imaginations and encouraging them to follow their dreams.”
The Ripken Foundation has installed 68 state-of-the-art centers across the country through its STEM initiative, which aims to increase the number of minority and at-risk youth pursuing higher education and careers in STEM-related fields.
Steve Salem, Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation president and CEO, said the organization’s goal is to help children build meaningful relationships and fall in love with the endless possibilities in STEM.
“Our STEM initiative goes beyond classroom instruction to promote important life skills like teamwork, respect and resilience,” Salem said. “Though our partnership with Devon, we’re giving young minds the exposure they need to develop a lifelong appreciation for STEM and reach their full potential.”
Devon Energy is a leading independent energy company engaged in finding and producing oil and natural gas. Based in Oklahoma City and included in the S&P 500, Devon operates in several of the most prolific oil and natural gas plays in the U.S. with an emphasis on achieving strong returns. For more information, please visit www.devonenergy.com.
For the last 20 years, the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation has worked tirelessly to implement youth development programs and create parks that directly address the problems facing at-risk youth in distressed communities across the country. Inspired by one of the most iconic baseball families, the Ripkens created the Cal Rip-ken, Sr. Foundation to honor the legacy of its family patriarch, longtime coach, and mentor, Cal Ripken, Sr. The Ripken Foundation uses sports-themed activities to bring police officers, youth partners and underserved kids ages 9-14 together on a level playing field to learn invaluable life skills.
The Ripken Foundation’s Youth Development Park Initiative creates clean, safe places for kids to play on multipurpose, synthetic surface fields that promote healthy living in an outdoor recreational facility. Since 2009, the Ripken Foundation has 99 completed parks across the country in 26 states and Washington, D.C. In 2020, the Ripken Foundation impacted over 1.2 million kids nationwide through its Youth Development Park and mentor programs. For more information, visit www.RipkenFoundation.org. Follow @CalRipken-SrFdn on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.