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Skyuka Hall awarded grant to pay for STEM lab

This article was originally published on newschannel9.com.

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — On Wednesday, Skyuka Hall accepted $46,575 from the Vintage Car Rally Association (VCRA), headquartered in Grove, Okla.

The group awarded the funds to the independent school in Chattanooga to launch a STEM Lab, a program for instructing students in science, technology, engineering and math.

VCRA’s Race4Autism raises funds each year to support schools and organizations that improve the lives of children living with autism.

“These funds for our STEM Lab will have such a profound impact not only on our students with autism but all of our students who we’re preparing to lead successful lives,” said Dr. Josh Yother, head of Skyuka Hall. “Our environment allows students to develop academically, and this is a powerful contribution to help us achieve our mission.”

Skyuka Hall is designed for children with learning differences and serves all students who thrive from individualized learning experiences. The school also serves students who are living with autism, which is why VCRA chose the school to receive this award.

“We understand the value of improving educational programs such as STEM as we have a grandson with autism. . . .We get it!” said Rex Gardner, founder and director of VCRA.

Skyuka Hall says parent Jeff Stumb was instrumental in connecting the school and the association, as were Theresa and Corky Coker of Chattanooga. The timed endurance rallies of the VCRA and Great Race involve a weeklong competition of pre-1972 antique and classic cars while also raising money through the VCRA Race4Autism.

“As a parent, the positive outcomes from Skyuka Hall’s learning philosophy are evident every day, and it’s affirming to know the VCRA and Great Race also recognize and support our school’s efforts,” said Stumb. “Their selection is enabling Skyuka to provide engaging tools and giving our students the best opportunity to flourish.”

The VCRA Race4Autism selection committee awards schools that exhibit a need and where funds will dramatically improve education programs. Funds include proceeds from VCRA rally events, donations from the Branson Charity Auction and proceeds from the Great Race/Race4Autism as well as VCRA sponsors and individual donations.

Skyuka Hall will use the funds to develop STEM labs for both the lower school and for middle and high school students. The nearly $50,000 will fund equipment like laser engraving and cutting machines, vinyl cutters, 3-D printers, robotics and coding kits, film and broadcasting gear, and computers and software programs that allow students to effectively solve problems.

Instead of teaching subjects separately, the STEM Lab is an interdisciplinary approach that resembles knowledge used in real life to better prepare students. Skyuka plans to have the labs up and running by March.