St. Patrick Catholic High School Receives STEM Grant From Ingalls Shipbuilding

St. Patrick Catholic High School science teacher, Emily Cloud, submitted a grant proposal for “St. Patrick Soil” earlier this year to Ingalls Shipbuilding for consideration of a STEM grant. The project focuses on composting materials from the school to enrich our environment and lessen the impact of the school. Ingalls Shipbuilding has notified Cloud and the school that the project will be fully funded.

The project began when a ninth-grade student, Sofia Carreon, lobbied Cloud to start a school-wide project. Cloud immediately jumped on the idea by researching composting in schools and how she could involve her students by connecting concepts to her biology curriculum. The goal of the class is to teach students about composting benefits and guidelines while creating goals and an action plan to get the entire school to participate.

Signs are currently hung in the school’s cafeteria as the class begins the project. These signs help educate current students on what can and cannot compost as well as explaining the benefits of composting. Biology students will weigh the amount of composting material before depositing the material in a composting area to be set up near the school’s greenhouse. These measurements will track the impact of the program. Classes will be analyzing data and researching the benefits of using this compost material. To help complete the process of composting, the students rely on the help of microorganisms and worms. The final composted material is utilized by the greenhouse and help with a sustainable farming initiative.

Sustainable farming is an essential lesson for our children, and this initiative will help to educate over 450 students in the school on the benefits of less waste on our environment.

Cloud said, “A small team of students will sort and weigh food and transport it to the compost area each week. A compost area will be set-up in the back of campus near the Biology Greenhouse. Here, students can weigh the scraps of food, record the amount of waste produced by the cafeteria, and track the composting process. These students will also monitor the temperature of the compost pile and record the data. Designated students will complete the compost process and spread the soil for gardening.”

St. Patrick is overjoyed that Ingalls Shipbuilding continues to be a great steward to the Mississippi Gulf Coast and our mission of Catholic education.

Principal, Dr. Matt Buckley, said, “I am extremely proud of Mrs. Cloud for attaining the STEM Grant – she is most deserving of this honor, and I look forward to seeing her project in action on campus and the positive impact this experience will have for our students. We also remain grateful to Ingalls Shipbuilding for their implementation of this grant program and their wonderful support of the academic excellence portion of our mission.”