Microsoft teams with Lufkin ISD for pilot STEM program

Microsoft teams with Lufkin ISD for pilot STEM program
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - The Lufkin High school cafeteria was full of students working on the latest in robotics and coding thanks to a program put together between Microsoft and Lufkin ISD.

Rafranz Davis and the district have been working on the camp for six months and were excited to get Microsoft on board.

"We were working on the camp since January," Davis said. "We were ecstatic when we learned Microsoft wanted to come and be part of this."

The program Microsoft is running has been implemented in Europe, but Lufkin is the first school in America to have the program.

"We were so inspired by the district and what they have been able to do with what they have," said Microsoft Art Director Kevin Brown. "I was impressed because kids are now growing up with technology. The things they think about and the things they want to solve for the world is amazing."

The students are working with coding programs to create either apps, computer programs, or robots that do useful things. All of the students were at the camp by choice and not forced to go to a summer program.

"A lot of people like to go out and do things," said Lufkin senior Kennedy Eckles. "I like to stay in and play with little tinkering technology toys."

The tech students are not the only ones getting in on the action with Microsoft. The district's video department is also working with the computer corporation to create a video outlining the pilot program.

"It allows us to bring what we do to the students and help them out," Brown said.

For the students operating the camera, it is an experience they won't forget.

"They are teaching us a lot because they know a ton more about the technology they are using than we do," said Lufkin senior Bri Fountain.

Fountain's teacher knows the students will be ready for his class based off of the summer project.

"I could sit in front of the class room and lecture all day long, but until you get out there and get to do it and work with other people, professional producers, professional directors, it is just an experience you don't get in the classroom," said teacher Mike McHaney.

When the students are done with the camp, they will take home a special Microsoft coding computer called a Rasberry.

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