A partnership between the San Angelo Area Foundation, Solar CenTex and us here at KIDY awarded three area schools the funds they need to further their ideas in either science, technology, engineering or math (STEM).

For months, you’ve voted – and Thursday, those winners were announced!

The Eldorado Space Program took home the top prize of $5,000. Students design, program and build complex instrument packages that are sent to space. Then valuable information, like temperature and pressure, is relayed back to the classroom.

Five packages have been sent so far and another is on the way.

Senior Will Mynatt says programs like these do much more than prepare high schoolers for post-secondary education.

“Well, it not only teaches engineering skills, but also goal-setting skills. Our class really is run like [a] company. Everyone has their thing, and then it all comes together for the main goal,” Mynatt said.

Mynatt says the goal is to use the money to buy 3D printers.

Their teacher, Paul McWhorter, says that the program has grown in popularity not just by students, but by scientists all over the world. Their livestream on YouTube had people from 87 countries watching the latest launch! And it’s that attention that will ensure even more success light-years from now.

“And with you guys and the community working together, it’s going to allow even more great things in the future,” McWhorter said.

Ms. Terry’s kindergarten class at Lamar Elementary School took home $3,000 to help their students learn more about STEM projects.

Meanwhile, second graders at Santa Rita Elementary earned $2,000 to help develop their projects.

A big congratulations to all the winners!