Four years ago, Central High School launched a STEM Academy, a specialized program within the high school open to students across Mesa County School District interested in a career in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math). The program has grown steadily and there are over a hundred students now enrolled. STEM Academy students complete the normal high school requirements for graduation plus required AP classes in Computer Science. Each student commits to an internship and a special project in order to complete the STEM Academy requirements.

Central offers robotics classes to its STEM Academy students and is planning a Robotics Competition class. Central’s STEM teachers and students are heavily involved in the district-wide high school robotics league, the Hi Fives, which has an impressive track record for success in state and national competitions. When the space at the Business Incubator was no longer available for the Hi Fives, the STEM Coordinator at Central started envisioning a dedicated space for robotics in part of his traditional shop building. Our Community Foundation awarded $20,000 to the STEM Academy to renovate the space over the summer and equip it with design software for laptop computers, movable work tables and other specialized equipment to provide a home for robotics engineering. In time, the Robotics Lab may be open to students from nearby Grand Mesa Middle School and students in summer camps offered by the John McConnell Math and Science Center.