• 70°

Amazon donates $10,000 in equipment to Kannapolis Middle School

KANNAPOLIS — Opportunity was the word of the day Thursday as employees of Kannapolis’ Amazon Fulfillment Center surprised Kannapolis Middle School students with $10,000 worth of STEM equipment.

The donation included laptops, 3D printers, drones and builder kits, offered by Amazon as a way to give back to the community where its employees live.

For Principal Nick Carlascio, the gift brought with it an opportunity for the school to have its first coding, drone and robotics.

“This bridges the gap for our district,” Carlascio said. “We have a great STEM program in the elementary school and a phenomenal one in the high school, and now we’re actually creating pathways for these kids. We’re really excited about that.”

Enthusiasm for the future class was already brewing Thursday as students used technology — iPads and robots — to practice one future field of study: coding.

Kannapolis City Schools Superintendent Chip Buckwell said the class, in turn, could lead to college and careers that are “life-changing.”

“In my world, it’s about access,” Buckwell said. “Can they walk into a company six years from now when they graduate and have a credential that can lead to a job or a meaningful career for them? That becomes life-changing for their families.”

Buckwell said the access to local jobs is something Kannapolis has lacked since the closure of Pillotex in 2003.

“Amazon doesn’t just locate anywhere,” said Buckwell. “There’s a reason why they’re here, and this is the reason why. These kids can do what they need to have done for their business down the road.”

Shannon Todd, general manager of the Fulfillment Center, agreed.

“This is a great way to give some of these students … an opportunity to jump-start their career in STEM,” Todd said. “At Amazon, we’ve got lots of good-paying jobs with great benefits that will utilize the skills these students grow and progress through their careers.”

Looking ahead to next year’s new robotics and coding class, career and technical education teacher Ashlyn Ozment said the goal is to vertically align coding from elementary to high school, building on prior knowledge to have students college- and career-ready by graduation.

And Ozment is already making plans to implement the class in ways that will engage and spark enthusiasm in young learners, looking toward activities ranging from civil engineering to video game design.

Students will even get the chance to design modifications on gaming platforms like Roblox or Minecraft next year.

“I want to keep their excitement and joy for learning in the classroom because most students drop off at the middle and high school level,” said Ozment. “We want to keep that joy in what we do, which is why we want to make this program as fun and engaging as possible.”



David Freeze begins cross-country cycling journey in San Diego


Community remembrance events to focus on lynchings of the past, need for justice today


August issue of Salisbury the Magazine is now available


After 10 days, three hospitals, one diagnosis, Kassidy Sechler will return home


COVID-19 surging as North Carolina set to ease restrictions


Blotter: Police ask for help finding robbery suspect


Three Rivers Land Trust finalizes deal to double size of nature preserve in Spencer


Spin Doctors announced as headlining band for 2021 Cheerwine Festival

Ask Us

Ask Us: Readers ask about Hoffner murder case, ‘Fame’ location


Cornhole tournament at New Sarum Brewery brings out Panthers fans, raises money for charity


Blotter: Salisbury man charged for breaking and entering, burglary tools


Senators race to overcome final snags in infrastructure deal


Child killed in Monroe drive-by shooting; 1 arrested


Rowan County Chamber of Commerce’s Dragon Boat race returns after year hiatus


Marker commemorating Jim Crow-era lynchings in Rowan County, racial injustice required years of work


Identified Marine was a Salisbury native, served in WWII


Rowan County sees COVID-19 cases coming more quickly, remains in middle tier for community spread


Cleveland plans to build walking trail, community barn quilt mural

High School

High school athletics: Male Athlete of the Year Walker in league of once-in-a-generation players


Young entrepreneur learns lesson of responsibility by raising quail, selling eggs


Historic McCanless House sold, buyers plan on converting home into events venue


Library’s Summer Reading Week 10 has virtual storytime, last chance to log hours


Positive COVID test knocks DeChambeau out of Olympics


College football: North grad Delaney ready for next challenges at Johnson C. Smith