Pilgrim receives $10,000 STEM grant from Toshiba

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Pilgrim High School is pleased to announce it has received a $10,000 STEM grant from the Toshiba America Foundation (TAF). These funds will support the STEM Education in the Science Rich Waters of the Ocean State Project to collect and analyze environmental and microbiological data on the physical conditions and living organisms in our local waters.

Through the project, students will study the waters in and around our home city of Warwick to increase their STEM skills and to ultimately make a difference in the health of the waters. The Ocean State of Rhode Island ranks first on the East Coast (and third nationally behind Hawaii and Michigan) as the state with the highest percentage of water to land area.

Because of its small size, most locations in Rhode Island, including Warwick, have easy access to marine, fresh and estuary waters, which offers unparalleled opportunities for our students to explore the science of waters in a range of contexts. 

STEM lessons in the AP Environmental Science class and the Biotechnology classes will include a broad spectrum of activities, from field work and sample collection to laboratory analyses with microscopes and other technology. 

For example, the environmental science class will go into the field and study the biodiversity and water properties of the waters and the human impacts on these systems. The biotechnology classes will also go into the field and collect water and marine life samples, analyze the microscopic organisms from each and consider the potential development of new products and processes.

We are especially excited to integrate activities from these two classes into true STEM experiences for the students that will prepare them for college and careers as well as address local challenges.

Gerald Habershaw, Principal of Pilgrim High School, said of the grant: 

“This project has special meaning for our district and school as we continue our strategic initiatives to develop and implement STEM projects that will involve our students with the local community and tap the myriad resources that exist in our state. Since our waterways are among our community’s most valuable natural resources, this project will allow us to identify and leverage our resources to increase student achievement in science and math. I am also excited that this project includes both AP Environmental Science and Biotechnology because of their exceptional potential to help insure that our students are competitive for college and the workplace. 

For example, the breadth and depth of activities, including field, lab, and class work, team projects, and the equipment and materials that the project will bring, together will provide opportunities for our students to experience different pathways to help guide their future choices. Finally, our district and school has a history of meeting and exceeding the expectations of our students, teachers, parents, and community leaders.”


Toshiba America Foundation’s grants fund projects designed by individual classroom teachers. This “direct-to-teacher” approach brings immediate results. Teachers are able to change the way they teach Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects because the grant supports equipment for hands-on experiments and inquiry-based approaches to the curriculum. 

The Toshiba American Foundation grants provide teachers with the tools they need to be more effective educators. The grants make the classroom a more exciting place for both teachers and students.

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