• October 18, 2019

Fuel Your School kicks off at Lamar - Odessa American: ECISD

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Fuel Your School kicks off at Lamar

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    Jase Lomas and Jeremiah Hernandez, both 4-years-old, put together one of their classrooms newest piece of STEM equipment that teaches students about different effects on velocity. Pre-school kids in Mrs. Merriman's Lamar Early Education class got some new things to learn with thanks Chevron's Fuel Your School program which helps supply teachers with much needed materials to enhance their education.

Posted: Monday, September 30, 2019 4:59 pm

Students in Jennifer Merriman’s prekindergarten class at Lamar Early Education Center got what seemed like an early Christmas present Monday through Chevron and Kent Kwik.

The event marked the kick off for the Fuel Your School program where when motorists buy gas at Kent Kwik Chevron stations in October, that money goes to schools in Odessa, Midland and Greenwood.

This year, the program will start in Hobbs and Carlsbad, N.M., General Manger of Operations for Chevron Don Puckett said.

The companies used DonorsChoose to provide the funding, Ector County ISD Communications Officer Mike Adkins said.

“I remember my first grade teacher coming to school with projects and materials that she obviously built herself at home with her own money,” Puckett said. “There’s a limit to the amount teachers can spend to try to make education more fun and more of a learning opportunity, so if we can help those teachers not have to spend so much of their own money then the kids have a better opportunity to learn.”

This will be the seventh year for Fuel Your School. The maximum monthly amount collected for the past six years has been $200,000 in this region.

“This year, we’ve increased it to $275,000. We’ve hit that target every year for the last six years, so we thought we’d increase it and see if we can hit $275,000. … It’s also a national program that Chevron does with other partners and that program typically on a national level will raise more than $5 million a year …,” Puckett said.

The children in Merriman’s class were let loose to open the packages after some remarks from Chevron and Kent Kwik representatives and immediately started assembling the items.

“They got some outdoor kinetic sand. They got some ramps and that’s what the kids were putting together. They’ll see how fast things move, velocity and those kinds of things so true out-of-the-box thinking for our 4 year olds. They’re pre-k kiddoes, so some of those skills that we’re seeing in there today are out of the box for our 4 year olds,” Principal MaryJane Hutchins said.

Puckett told the youngsters that Chevron and Kent Kwik wanted to help their teachers so they don’t have to use as much money out of their own pockets to “get you guys stuff that’s fun and interesting to learn from.”

Merriman said she values the outdoors and getting the students out of the building.

“I also bring a lot of the outdoors inside, so you’ll see a lot of pinecones and rocks — just ways for them to get their hands on nature and to stimulate their thinking, get them really creative, hands-on engagement,” Merriman said. “We thought it would be fun, especially taking that STEAM — that science, that inquisitive nature that they have and taking it outside with water and sand and ramps and just cause and effect.”

Hutchins said her teachers work hard to plan projects, but the campus doesn’t always have the funds for them.

“It doesn’t always fit into our budget to do the extra special stuff and Miss Merriman is one of those out-of-the-box thinkers,” Hutchins said. “She loves to come up with the innovative, creative things in her classroom so this has made it so much more possible for her to do that. …”

Merriman said they are blessed to have opportunities like this in the community.

“You saw the excitement on their faces when they unboxed it and they couldn’t wait to just dive right in. You watch and see what they can do with materials and where their imaginations take them. It’s just so important for them to get their hands on something and just kind of flow with it. We’re just there to help guide that learning, so this is a great opportunity,” Merriman added. 

 Donors Choose is a website where teachers can post classroom project requests and donors can choose the ones they want to support, its website said.

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