Students at H.L. Watkins Middle School are discovering that science is more than textbooks and tests. Florida Power & Light Company helped make possible the first robotics facility in the county, along with a new solar array and learning station. FPL, together with School District of Palm Beach County, celebrated the unveiling of the state-of-the-art classroom on Oct. 3, 2012.
The new robotics and engineering lab is a major revamp and exciting resource for H.L. Watkins students, says H.L. Watkins Principal Don Hoffman. He believes his school is now among the most advanced and “cutting-edge,” thanks to the partnership with FPL. “We’re creating opportunities for jobs that don’t exist yet,” Hoffman said.
H.L. Watkins is the only middle school in the county with this level of sophistication in robotics equipment and software. The resources have allowed the school to ramp-up education for students, helping prepare them for the highly-skilled science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) jobs of the future.
“I love the fact that we’ve helped grow something that ultimately gets students involved in academics,” said Maureen Wilt, education program manager for FPL. “We need to train the next generation of engineers.”
In addition to the robotics center, H.L. Watkins’ Next Generation Solar Education Station features solar panels that will provide students a hands-on tool to learn about green technology and help the school save money on its electric bill.