LEMONT – The CITGO Lemont Refinery, in collaboration with the Lemont High School (LHS), observed National STEM Day on Nov. 8, offering an exciting event for area students, parents and teachers. More than 300 people attended the event to celebrate science, technology, engineering and math with 35 interactive demonstrations and a special program at the Lemont High School hosted by CITGO and the LHS Science Department.
“The National STEM Day event is just one way CITGO supports STEM education and the development of future industry leaders,” said Dennis Willig, vice president and general manager of the CITGO Lemont Refinery. “Our employees truly enjoy being able to collaborate with local school administrators, teachers, and students.”
This year’s event began with a ribbon cutting ceremony in the new CITGO Innovation Academy located in the school’s library. While the CITGO Innovation Academy has been open to the students since August, National STEM Day was the perfect opportunity to welcome the community into the state-of-the-art facility to tour the STEM classroom and learn about the resources offered. In addition, guests were treated to a warm beverage from the Common Grounds Coffeehouse, which is located inside the Academy and serves as an employment learning opportunity for Lemont High School students with disabilities.
The event continued in the school auditorium with a short program featuring keynote speaker Megan Cook, Ocean Exploration Trust Manager of Education Partnerships and Programs. In addition, CITGO presented Lemont High School teacher, Scott Collins, with the STEM Teacher of the Year award. As his reward, Collins received a $250 school supply gift certificate, as well as the opportunity to sail on the E/V Nautilus as a CITGO Nautilus Ambassador. Collins has served on staff at Lemont High School since 2004, first as a science teacher and now as chair of the science department. In addition to his administrative role, Collins teaches upperclassmen science courses, and has been a part of writing curriculum for the Big History Project.
CITGO Innovation Academies are the cornerstone of the CITGO STEM Talent Pipeline. Through the CITGO STEM Talent Pipeline, the company actively supports the academic exploration of STEM education in the schools nearby its refineries in Corpus Christi, Texas; Lake Charles, La.; and Lemont, Ill. Since the initiative's inception, CITGO has awarded more than $1.5 million toward programs that promote the importance of STEM education and provide educators with the resources they need.