Dr. Johnnie Thomas, Superintendent of Rich Township High School District 227, and Dr. Mable Alfred, Superintendent of Schools for Elementary School District 159, were joined by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Congresswoman Robin Kelly, Richton Park Mayor Rick Reinbold, Amazon General Manager (ORD5) Lamonte Heyward, and other elected officials, in celebration of a combined $1 million donation from Amazon to focus on growing the STEM programs within the two districts.
“We are very appreciative of Amazon and their commitment to our communities. This generous donation adds to the ongoing support we have received from them,” said Dr. Alfred. “We are grateful to both Amazon and our elected officials who support our ongoing efforts to ensure that our students are 21st Century learners,” said Dr. Johnnie Thomas.
“Amazon’s one-million-dollar contribution to our schools, speak volumes to their commitment to the upward mobility of our community.
But moreover, Amazon remains the premier global leader not only in logistical distribution of goods, but also in the development of communities.” says Matteson Village President Sheila Chalmers-Currin.
“Amazon believes it is critical to think long-term about our role in the communities where we operate and that’s why we’re proud to make this investment in Southland schools,” said Sarah Glavin,
Senior Manager of Community Engagement for Amazon. “Growing the STEM programs in these communities will not only prepare students for the next stage of their education but also give them critical and highly-valued workplace skills.”
Conversations started in January 2021 with Amazon to enhance the educational experiences through a donation to increase the success within the different career pathways for both district 159 and district 227 students.
The funding from Amazon to Matteson School District 159 will support the ongoing construction of a state-of-art STEM building. Located just south of Colin Powell Middle School, at 20400 Matteson Avenue, the STEM center will include a Makers Lab, Aerospace and Atmospheric Science Lab, robotics, and flight simulation. There was a historic groundbreaking ceremony in 2021. The Center is still under construction with a completion date of May of 2022. The district will also implement the National Air and Space Education curriculum.
Rich Township High School District 227 will use the funding from Amazon to support ongoing renovations of its STEM campus. Outfitted with a new manufacturing wing and equipped with new industrial robots and state-of-art industry-standard equipment, this newly renovated space will enhance curricular offerings to include Project Lead the Way, Principles of Engineering, Introduction to Engineering Design, and Computer Integrated Manufacturing.
Dr. Alfred led a tour of the Matteson School District 159 STEM CENTER exterior immediately following the February 22, 2022, press conference.