Laughlin, community celebrate ground-breaking of STEM school

LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- U.S. Air Force Airmen and civilians from the 47th Flying Training Wing joined with Del Rio, Texas and San Felipe Del Rio Consolidated Independent School District community members for a ground-breaking ceremony of Laughlin Air Force Base’s new Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Magnet Elementary School, June 23. The ceremony came shortly after the San Felipe Del Rio CISD board of trustees voted unanimously to accept the proposal to build a STEM focused elementary school June 19. Joshua Overfelt, San Felipe Del Rio CISD board of trustees president, served as the keynote speaker and board representative for this event. “Today marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter in history,” said Overfelt. “This STEM elementary will be the first in Del Rio. These programs will continue to show the rest of Texas, the US Air Force and nation that San Felipe Del Rio CISD can be an innovative leader in public education.” U.S. Air Force Col. Thomas Shank, 47th FTW commander, emphasized the importance of unifying the city and base through the development of this school, which will provide students access to state-of-the-art facilities and mentors within STEM career fields. “We are committed to serving our community,” said Shank. “Our civic leaders and Air Force leadership have made a promise to show how they value this community and together we can continue to mold and shape the minds of tomorrow’s future leaders through this addition.” Through collaborative efforts, the base and city have shared both resources and expenses to facilitate the school’s construction. Additionally, building this school on Laughlin AFB will eliminate city property costs and up to 21,000 hours in school bus operations. According to Shank, since the Pentagon released a private-partnership initiative three years ago, Laughlin AFB has invested more than $550,000 in preparation for this project, which they plan to continue to support the city throughout this development.

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