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Husted touts education in STEM+M school visit: Ohio lt. governor visited three education facilities on Tuesday

SOUTH POINT — As part of Ohio In-Demand Jobs Week, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted visited three education facilities in the southern part of the state on Tuesday, including the Tri-State STEM+M Early College High School in Lawrence County.

“We’re highlighting the great job opportunities out there with employers in the state,” Husted said in his stop at the school, located on Solida Road in South Point. “We’re helping people understand where they can go to drink the water of education.”

Husted three education consists of three components — life skills, academic skills and career skills.

“These three go together and that’s an education,” he said. “You develop the whole person.”

He said STEM education is particularly important to him and he had made it a point to visit schools in the state that focus on it. He said it has been a priority since his time in the legislature.

“When I was speaker of the House in 2007, I sponsored legislation to create the STEM education network,” Husted said, stating, at the time, he feared emerging nations could be a threat to the U.S., because they “could outdo us in talent.”

He said in addition to STEM, he pushed for scholarships to get Ohioans to choose in-state education. He said studies have shown that most people either return home or stay in the area of their college when they begin working.

“If they’re educated at schools in Ohio, then we’re more likely to keep our talent in Ohio,” Husted said.

He said schools like STEM+M will help the U.S. compete in a “knowledge and innovation economy.”

“Knowledge is portable,” Husted said. “It can get on an airplane, it can live anywhere. Knowledge can come to your community. Knowledge can leave your community. We have to be better than ever at growing knowledge and technical skills in order to compete and win.”

Husted presented Alicia Spears, the lead teacher at STEM+M, with a certificate from him and Gov. Mike DeWine, honoring her for being the first recipient of the TORCH Award from the Ohio Department of Education, which she received in April.

He said he had learned during the tour of the school that many of its students had already earned as many as 60 hours of college credits in their classes.

“That’s amazing,” Husted said. “And it makes college a lot more affordable for them. What you’re doing here is fantastic in helping these students get a head start on life.”

Following Husted’s remarks, Bella Schraeder, a student at the school, spoke about her experience.

“I know 100 percent that this is where I want to go,” she said, stating she had been in both a private school and a traditional public school before enrolling. “This has challenged me the most, and it has made learning so much easier.”

Shraeder, who was recently accepted for a summer program at Yale, was praised by Husted for her exceptionally high ACT score.

She said she did not like science when she was in eighth grade and originally took the ACT.

“I was more into math,” she said. “But my ACT went up nine points, just because of classes here. I’m very passionate about this school and I know there’s nothing in our area like it.”

The audience for Husted’s visit was comprised of many local officials and economic leaders, including Lawrence County Commissioners Freddie Hayes Jr., DeAnna Holliday and Colton Copley, Union Township Trustee Cole Webb, South Point Mayor Jeff Gaskin, Lawrence County Economic Development Corporation president Bill Dingus and Shirley Dyer, director of the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce.

Her son, Dr. Mike Dyer, a Proctorville veterinarian who served as county chair of Husted’s campaign with Gov. DeWine, introduced the lieutenant governor.

STEM education is also offered at Collins Career Technical Center, which is unaffiliated with the Tri-State STEM+M school. Its Project Lead the Program offers four-year engineering and biomedical courses in most of the county’s school districts.