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CISDEF Board Members Join the Celebration of the Grand Opening of Cuero Jr. High's STEM Center

On Wednesday, September 20, 2023, an exciting event unfolded in Cuero, Texas, as board members of the Cuero ISD Education Foundation were invited to attend the celebration of the grand opening of the FIRST IN TEXAS Middle School Ripkin Foundation STEM Center.

This state-of-the-art facility promises to be a game-changer for students, offering a dynamic learning environment equipped with cutting-edge technology, all thanks to the generous funding from the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation, Devon Energy, Marathon Oil, and Repsol Energy.

New STEM Center at Cuero Jr. High greatly expands existing robotics courses serving 6th-12th graders in CISD.

CISDEF Executive Director, Sean P. Douglas, poses for a photo with Christina Rehkop, Director Community Relations at Devon Energy Corporation, and Gayle Batts, CISDEF board member. In 2018, Devon awarded a $10,000 grant to Mr. Douglas and Cuero Jr. High. Those funds helped to start a Robotics course that grew to over 40 students at its peak. Teaching materials purchased using that original grant are still being used today, in the program's sixth year. That course was the foundation for the current Robotics and Engineering programs at Cuero Jr. High and Cuero High School. CISD's Robotics and Engineering programs will be greatly expanded by the new STEM Center.

A Quantum Leap in STEM Education

The newly unveiled STEM Center at Cuero Jr. High School represents a significant leap forward in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education in the Cuero Independent School District.

With the support of philanthropic organizations such as the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation, Devon Energy, Marathon Oil, and Repsol Energy, the school was able to create a cutting-edge learning environment that will inspire and engage students in STEM disciplines.

High-Tech Tools and Learning Opportunities

One of the most exciting aspects of the new STEM Center is the wide array of high-tech tools and equipment available to students. These resources will provide students with hands-on opportunities to explore, create, and innovate. Some of the innovative tools at their disposal include:

  1. 3D Printers: These devices enable students to bring their creative ideas to life by designing and printing three-dimensional objects, fostering design thinking and problem-solving skills.

  2. littleBits: A modular electronics platform that empowers students to experiment with and build their own electronic circuits, encouraging creativity and an understanding of electronics.

  3. Snap Circuits: These educational kits introduce students to the world of electronics in a fun and interactive way, allowing them to build various projects and learn about circuits and engineering concepts.

  4. Sphero Bolts: Programmable robots that teach coding and robotics, providing students with hands-on experience in programming and automation.

  5. Tello Drones: Drones offer an exciting way for students to explore the principles of flight, navigation, and aerial photography, promoting STEM learning through real-world applications.

Inspiring the Next Generation of Innovators

The importance of STEM education in today's world cannot be overstated. By providing students with access to cutting-edge technology and hands-on learning experiences, Cuero Jr. High School's STEM Center aims to inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers, and innovators. This facility fosters creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills, all of which are vital in preparing students for the challenges of the 21st century.

Community Collaboration and Philanthropic Support

The successful establishment of the STEM Center at Cuero Jr. High School would not have been possible without the generous support of the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation, Devon Energy, Marathon Oil, and Repsol Energy. Their commitment to education and investment in the future of Cuero's students exemplifies the power of community collaboration and philanthropy.


The grand opening of the STEM Center at Cuero Jr. High School marks a significant milestone in the Cuero Independent School District's commitment to providing quality STEM education. This innovative facility, made possible through the generosity of key supporters, promises to empower students to explore the exciting world of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. As Cuero's young minds delve into the world of 3D printing, robotics, and electronics, they are poised to become the future innovators who will drive progress and change the world for the better.

The Cuero ISD Education Foundation and the entire community eagerly anticipate the positive impact this STEM Center will have on the education and future success of Cuero's students.

The Cuero ISD Education Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit tax-exempt organization that shares a mission of enhancing opportunities for Cuero public schools by working to increase private and corporate support for educational activities, supporting activities not funded by tax dollars, fostering creative approaches to education through private grants and involvement, and awarding Foundation funds through a volunteer Board of Directors made up of business, community and educational leaders.

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