Woodland students in a previous leadership conference expressed their desire for improved science equipment at their school. In response, administrators and elected officials took action by providing a new $831,000 lab. This exciting development was celebrated with a ceremonial ribbon-cutting event at Woodland School in rural Streator, with support from the Streator Chamber of Commerce. Additionally, the school received a generous $5,000 donation from SOCU for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) equipment, including robots, rovers, and probes.
According to Superintendent Ryan McGuckin, the previous science lab dated back to the 1950s and was in need of modern updates. As a result, the school board decided to prioritize this project and invest in education. Eric Sass, President of the Woodland School Board, stated that while the gym and parking lot received significant investments, it was important to focus on initiatives that directly impact education. The original science labs were in desperate need of an upgrade.
Science teachers Melissa Fink and Stephanie Flores expressed their excitement on behalf of the students. The addition of individual lab spaces and up-to-date equipment has greatly enhanced the learning experience. Students no longer need to share tables and are now able to fully engage with their scientific experiments. The new lab space, which connects two neighboring classrooms, has made science education much more efficient and engaging. Fink and Flores shared that even simple things like having their own Bunsen burners have greatly improved the students’ enthusiasm for science.
The funding for these infrastructure improvements came from multiple sources, including corporate personal property replacement taxes, the education fund, and the 1% sales tax revenue in Livingston County. The positive impact of the new lab extends beyond the school community. Sass mentioned that recent graduates who visited the lab compared it favorably to their college labs, further highlighting the success of this project. Woodland is proud to provide such a high-quality educational environment for its students.