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9th graders take on engineering course

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Updated: 3/27/2014 10:36 pm
STARKVILLE, Miss. (WTVA) -- This is the first semester for Project Lead The Way at the Millsaps Career and Technical Center in Starkville.

Starkville is one of only three schools in the state to offer this curriculum.

Students are doing what the teacher calls a bit of reverse engineering which she says gives them a better grasp of this design project.

"They design a puzzle cube then draw it like an engineer would do. They then design it in 3D software," said teacher Denise Adair.

Educators say this course is a big step up from the traditional STEM courses or Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math that's required in all public schools.

The students say it's a challenging but exciting class.

"It's fun and we get to build a lot of stuff. We use the computer a lot and build stuff," said student Katie Hargett.

"I'm planning on going to the military to be an engineer. I like this class because we do a lot of drawing and get on the computers. It prepares you for life," said student Abdural Lee.
Project Lead The Way is designed to give the students a lot of hands-on experience in the engineering design process.
That includes 3D computer work thanks to a $50,000 grant from Weyerhaeuser.

"A lot of the students don't realize there is engineering involved in a roller coaster, a pair of tennis shoes or a baseball bat. I tell them anybody can be an engineer who's willing to put the effort into it," said Adair. 

Even more students will have that opportunity as the program looks to expand.

Leaders say that's especially important in this area where demand is growing for a highly skilled work force.

"There's aeronautics in this area and we may want to advance into that for our students. Eventually they might have some internships that would count as part of their school experience," said Jody Woodrum with the Starkville School District.

Educators say they'll look to the community for support to make this program even stronger.
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