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Syms Middle School one of 20 national semi-finalists for Northrop Grumman Foundation Fab School Lab $100,000 grant

Northrop Grumman Foundation announced this week that Hampton’s Benjamin Syms Middle School is one of 20 public middle school semifinalists nationwide in its Fab School Labs science classroom makeover contest. Connor Dunn, technology teacher at Syms, submitted the application for the available grants up to $100,000 each. A link to Dunn’s video regarding the grant application can be found here:

With the support of local communities and the public at large as part of a week-long online voting campaign scheduled from Monday, Nov. 16 to Friday, Nov. 20, the semifinalist schools will have an opportunity to receive votes to make their dreams of a state-of-the-art science lab a reality with one of five available grants.

The Voting Day for Syms Middle is on Nov. 16. Sign up here to receive a reminder to vote on that day:

In the grant application, Dunn said that, “With a supportive school administration and central office, Syms is ready for the change, ready to prepare students for 21st century learning experiences, and ready to be a part of the school division that is reinventing itself into career academies. Resources and technologies are needed that help teachers prepare students for the real world environment and to be successful and engaged.”

Dunn added that the “Syms Fab Lab will unleash learning and change the life path for students at Syms. STEM- related (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) curriculum and project-based learning activities available through Fab Lab will give students the basic building blocks for up-to-date career exploration, career goal-setting, and capture the natural curiosity of students through technology and by making connections to careers, college and employment.”

To help meet the education demands of today's fast-paced, technology-driven world, the Northrop Grumman Foundation – through its Fab School Labs program – is helping today's science and STEM labs and classrooms become places of inspiration, imagination and opportunity for students.

"Enhancing classroom tools is another way to help our teachers boost the science and technology learning experience for their students," said Sandra Evers-Manly, Northrop Grumman vice president, Global Corporate Responsibility and president of the Northrop Grumman Foundation. "Young people are naturally inquisitive and adept at so many of the technologies we have available to us today. With the help of teachers and the community at large, we look forward to giving kids the chance to succeed and thrive as they engage in the exciting fields of science, technology, engineering and math where they can let their imagination soar."

Nearly 200 schools participated in the contest, submitting videos, photos and sharing their school's vision for a state-of-the-art science lab. The contest, which was announced earlier this year, invited teachers, principals and school administrators to share their vision for a dream science lab and to tell their school's story through video, photos, and a brief essay. All submissions were reviewed by a team comprised of Flinn Scientific and an independent consultant. The top 20 semifinalist schools were chosen based on a scoring system that included existing classroom/lab resources, level of need, students impacted, feasibility of upgrades and plans proposed, and meeting the contest eligibility requirements and entry criteria.

To help determine the final five winning school grant recipients, Northrop Grumman Foundation will engage the public's help via an online voting campaign hosted on the Fab School Labs Facebook page at beginning Monday, Nov. 16. Once all of the online votes have been cast, a final selection process will be conducted by the Fab School Labs team to determine the top five grant recipients. The winning schools will then work with a design and engineering company to build a lab with all of the tools, resources and furnishings needed.

To learn more about the Fab School Labs contest, visit To vote once the online public voting window is open, or to follow the competition, visit Facebook at

Northrop Grumman and the Northrop Grumman Foundation, are committed to expanding and enhancing the pipeline of diverse, talented STEM students globally. They provide funding to sustainable STEM programs that span from preschool to high school and through collegiate levels, with a major emphasis on middle school students and teachers. In 2014, Northrop Grumman and the Northrop Grumman Foundation continued outreach efforts by contributing $15.9 million to diverse STEM-related groups such as the Air Force Association (CyberPatriot), Conservation International (ECO Classroom), the REC Foundation (VEX Robotics), National Science Teachers Association and the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering.

Vote here:

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