By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – On Tuesday, August 27, author, philanthropist, and Baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr. will join community leaders to celebrate the grand opening of thirty-three Ripken STEM Centers in Oklahoma City Public Schools (OKCPS).
From 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. there will be an assembly and ribbon cutting event in the Mark Twain Elementary School gymnasium, at 2451 W. Main.
Other special guests attending the event will be Sean McDaniel, Superintendent, OKCPS; Dave Hager, President & CEO, Devon Energy; Mike McDonald, Chairman, Oklahoma Energy Resources Board; Sandy Phillips, Principal, Mark Twain Elementary; and Mary Mélon, President & CEO, Foundation for OKCPS.
Each OKCPS elementary school will receive cutting-edge tech tools and curriculum.
During the event, students will have the opportunity to interact with equipment and have their photo taken with Ripken in the new STEM Center. A confetti shooter will be on hand to enhance the celebration.
In 2016, the Ripken Foundation STEM Initiative was launched with 10 Centers giving underserved elementary school kids in disadvantaged neighborhoods the opportunity to participate in STEM activities. By fall 2019, there will be a Ripken Foundation STEM Center in 55 schools and youth-serving organizations across the country, including the first district-wide STEM program in every Oklahoma City Elementary School.
The Ripken STEM Centers will expose students to STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), encourage them to develop problem-solving skills, and influence them to pursue STEM careers, helping to meet community workforce needs.
The Ripken Foundation provides training for OKCPS STEM coordinators, a curriculum guidebook and activity kits to enhance the use of technology tools.
Inspired by one of the most iconic baseball families, the Ripkens created the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation to honor the legacy of its family patriarch, longtime coach, and mentor, Cal Ripken, Sr.
The Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, works to implement youth development programs and create parks that directly address the problems facing at-risk youth in distressed communities across the country.
In a statement to PennLive.com sports reporter Ryan Baillargeon, Cal Ripken, Jr. said, “The lessons that you can learn out on the athletic field are all fine and good, but we want to actually then reach out and help kids in a deeper way. That’s in the classroom through math and science.”
In 2018, the Ripken Foundation impacted over 1.5 million kids nationwide through its Youth Development Park and mentor programs. For more information, visit RipkenFoundation.org.
Created in 1984, The Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to advance excellence, create champions and build strong community support for lasting success in Oklahoma City Public Schools. To learn more, visit okckids.com.