BATON ROUGE, La. – Employees of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development presented a check for more than $1,800 to the engineering program at Scotlandville Magnet High School today (Friday).
Principal Mary McManus, accepting the check on behalf of the program, said, “Public schools can always use a helping hand, and Scotlandville Magnet is no exception in that regard, unfortunately.
“DOTD employees have been helping to nurture future engineers since the program’s inception. This monetary donation is just the latest example of the employees’ generosity,” she added.
The check for $1,897.43 was presented by Janice Drake, DOTD recruiting program manager, on behalf of DOTD Secretary Johnny B. Bradberry and other employees. The money represents 10 percent of the proceeds from two “Books Are Fun” book sales held at headquarters in 2005 – a one-day sale during the summer and a two-day sale held before Christmas.
“Scotlandville Magnet’s engineering group, taught by mechanical engineer Rhasean Taylor, will use the money for various projects and field trips, such as NASA’s FIRST Robotics Competition, which will be held in Columbia, S.C., March 30-April 1,” according to Beatrice Arvie, magnet lead teacher. “Twenty of the program’s 117 students will attend the competition.”
Future DOTD fundraiser proceeds will alternate between Scotlandville Magnet’s engineering program and the school’s other programs: a business entrepreneurship program and a government affairs/law program.
DOTD also hosted the 2006 Groundhog Job Shadowing Day for students of Scotlandville Magnet on Feb. 2. During this event, students from Scotlandville Magnet were paired with DOTD employees in various career fields, according to the students’ interests. The day began with a tour of DOTD’s information technology center, which was followed by “shadowing,” when each student accompanied a mentor to his or her workstation. At the end of the day, the students reconvened to eat lunch and share their experiences with one another.
Six students participated in the 2006 Shadowing Day. The students shadowed DOTD employees in the following positions: engineer, human resources director, compliance specialist, IT production supervisor, IT support analyst and employee relations manager.
The student/mentor relationships do not end with Shadowing Day. Some students, mostly those interested in engineering, who are members of the Scotlandville Mentoring Program have had periodic meetings with their mentors.
One example of lasting relations formed through the program, Drake said, is former Scotlandville student Alexis R. Carter. DOTD Chief Engineer Bill Temple became Carter’s mentor in high school. She is now a senior engineering major at Southern University who has twice participated in DOTD’s cooperative job program.
Secretary Bradberry said, “I’m really gratified that our employees are involved in a meaningful way in the community. I’d like to think that our efforts, individually and collectively, will result in some successful business and engineering careers down the road.”
DOTD’s informal relationship with Scotlandville Magnet High began in February 1998 with the department’s interactions with students from Scotlandville and other schools on Groundhog Job Shadowing Day, organized by Junior Achievement, according to Janice Drake. From that interaction evolved an annual Engineering Day program and tour at headquarters, with the next one set for Oct. 12.