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Paul Duke STEM High School in Gwinnett earns grant for electric vehicle project from McDonald’s

     Paul Duke STEM High School is a recipient of a McDonald’s Golden Grant. Awarded by the Greater Atlanta McDonald’s Owners and Operators, the $10,000 grant will fund the STEM school’s new BigMAC Driven Innovation in Electric Vehicles project. The program is designed to integrate technology and career readiness throughout the school’s Mechatronics, Engineering, and Robotics curricular tracks for both general and advanced learners. Ultimately, the program will create an incredible real-world learning lab for 150 students each year for five years. In addition, the BigMAC Driven Innovation in Electric Vehicles project will attract and engage students in STEM courses, inspire innovation, and prepare students for challenging careers in the electric vehicle and robotics industries. 

     Dr. Jonathon Wetherington, the principal at Paul Duke STEM High School, says he is thankful that his school was selected to receive the grant. “Interestingly, one of our current seniors helped come up with the idea and brought the grant opportunity to the attention of his teachers,” Dr. Wetherington said. “The students, faculty, and staff at Paul Duke STEM High are extremely excited to be awarded these funds to help launch our Electric Vehicle Program (EVP). The EVP will provide integrated, applied learning and research opportunities for students in Engineering, Mechatronics, Physics, Computer Science and Design courses. Beginning this spring, students will collaborate on two core projects including: the design, construction and programming of a Mechanized Autonomous Courier robot, ‘Big MAC,’ and the construction of an electric mini-car optimized for speed. Our school culture encourages student innovation, and the EVP will serve as the latest addition to a suite of career readiness and student entrepreneurship programs, such as the PDS Print Shop, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Program, and our MakerSpace.”

     Established in 2018, the Atlanta-exclusive Golden Grants program awards one $20,000 grant, a $10,000 grant, and ten $1,000 grants. The monetary awards provide a resource for teachers and other individuals who are committed to inspiring K-12 student learning. Activities that qualify for a Golden Grant include arts and crafts programs, education initiatives, mentorship and empowerment programs, after-school programs, community service outreach, sporting programs and activities. Last year, with support from their customers, the Atlanta operators contributed more than
$1 million to the Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities to support the city’s two Ronald McDonald Houses, Ronald McDonald Care Mobile and Ronald McDonald Family Room. The Greater Atlanta McDonald’s Operators Association includes more than 50 owner/operators and operations managers, representing 271 restaurants in the 45 county greater Atlanta area.