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$15,000 Arthur W. Perdue Foundation challenge grant supports afterschool robotics teams in eastern North Carolina

bertie schools
Jeff Stalls, left, Perdue Director of Operations, presents a $15,000 challenge grant from the Arthur W. Perdue Foundation to the Roanoke River Valley Educational Consortium. From left with Stalls are Tarsha Dudley, Bertie County Schools board member (District 5), Alton Parker, Bertie County Schools board member (District 4), Elaine White, Bertie County Schools superintendent, and Ray Spain, Warren County Schools superintendent.

Salisbury, Md. (Thursday, August 14, 2014) — Perdue Farms, through the Arthur W. Perdue Foundation, the company’s charitable giving arm, has awarded a $15,000 challenge grant to the Roanoke River Valley Educational Consortium (RRVEC) for the development of afterschool robotics teams in elementary and middle schools initially in Warren and Bertie counties in eastern North Carolina.

“At Perdue, we have a long history of supporting educational initiatives through the Arthur W. Perdue Foundation, and we applaud the Roanoke River Valley Education Consortium efforts to develop innovative programs that result in students acquiring knowledge and life skills that open up exciting vistas of college and career opportunities,” said Jeff Stalls, Perdue director of operations in Lewiston. “The afterschool robotics teams have a proven record of exciting students about learning science, technology, engineering and math. We made it a challenge grant to encourage other businesses from across the region to engage in this critical effort.”

Dr. Ray Spain, superintendent of Warren County Schools explained the program, saying, “Students who have struggled in math and science classes are suddenly programming robots to perform amazing tasks in a race against the clock. More importantly, they are having a great time and have no idea that they are developing a passion for learning science and math. The robotics competition requires students to work as a team, solve complicated problems, present their ideas to business leaders and constantly seek ways to improve their robot. Those are essential life skills that our leading employers tell us are critical for our students to have to be successful when they graduate.”

Business involvement in this program is critical, according to Elaine White, superintendent of Bertie County Schools. “Each team has a mentor with a technology background and a science or CTE teacher as the coach. This type of interaction will provide a rich experience for our students,” she said.

“We are deeply grateful for the contribution from the Arthur W. Perdue Foundation,” White explained, “We are actively seeking additional partnerships with industries from across the region. The insights from those collaborations are critical in preparing students from across this region with the knowledge and skills our major employers need.”

According to Dr. Spain, this program causes students to see useful ways to use classroom learning to solve real-world problems. “Many students find that student-led problem solving ignites a passion for learning science and math. That is critical for their success because the National Science Foundation tells us that 80 percent of all jobs being created require knowledge of science, technology, engineering and math.”

Dr. Spain said that Bertie County Schools and Warren County Schools are members of the Roanoke River Valley Educational Consortium and are piloting this project for the consortium. RRVEC is an innovative collaboration of five school systems (Bertie County Schools, Hertford County Schools, Northampton County Schools, Warren County Schools and Weldon City Schools) focused on knowledge and critical life skills that students need for career and college.

“We believe that programs like this are critical to attract companies with high paying, skilled jobs to want to locate in this region,” White said.

About Perdue Farms
Perdue Farms is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for everyone we touch through innovative food and agricultural products. Since our beginning on Arthur Perdue’s farm in 1920, to our expansion into agribusiness and the introduction of the PERDUE® brand of chicken and turkey under Frank Perdue, and continuing with our third generation of leadership with Chairman Jim Perdue, we’ve remained family owned and family operated. We are the parent company of Perdue Foods and Perdue AgriBusiness. Through our PERDUE®, HARVESTLAND® and COLEMAN NATURAL®, and COLEMAN ORGANIC® food brands; agricultural products and services; and stewardship and corporate responsibility programs, we are working to become the most-trusted name in food and agricultural products.


About the Arthur W. Perdue Foundation
The Arthur W. Perdue Foundation, the charitable giving arm of Perdue Farms, was established in 1957 by company founder Arthur W. Perdue and is funded through the estates of Arthur W. Perdue and Frank Perdue. As part of our belief in supporting the communities where and with whom we do business, the Foundation provides grants on behalf of Perdue Farms in communities where large numbers of our associates live and work.  At Perdue Farms, we believe in responsible food and agriculture.™ 


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