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*The Following Is A Story By Misty Poe and Published By The Times West Virginian. We, the STEM Club, did not write the following article, we are simply sharing it.* To view the original article visit:


Photo By Misty Poe Joe Criss, a Novelis representative (second from left), presents a $7,500 donation check from the corporation to the advisers of the East Fairmont Middle School STEM club, Barbara Pill (left) and Charles Tranter (right), and club member Hunter Criss.

FAIRMONT — You would have to wash a lot of cars, sell a lot of cupcakes or make a lot of bracelets to raise $7,500.

But thanks to the contribution of an international company with a presence in Fairmont, the students of the East Fairmont Middle School STEM Club won’t have to focus as much on fundraising as they do on science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

On Friday, Novelis representative Joe Criss presented the $7,500 check to the club’s advisers, Charles Tranter, a seventh- and eighth-grade science teacher, and Barbara Pill, an eighth-grade science teacher.

Novelis is an international company that manufactures rolled aluminum products, and its Fairmont site supplies more than 70 domestic and international customers with more than 400 different products.

“Typically Novelis will support STEM,” Criss said. “They give scholarships, money to science and technology programs to develop the skill sets within the community to further the education in technology.”

Two years ago, Pill said the group members started a letter-writing campaign to local businesses to raise funds. Novelis donated $500 to the club for materials and supplies. Last year the figure rose to $1,500. This year, the group provided a list of supplies they would like to purchase, including a three-dimensional printer, and the corporation donated the $7,500 to support the club.

Pill said club members had the use of a 3-D printer at the NASA IV&V Facility, but if something needed to be printed at the last minute or on a weekend, their access was limited.

The High-Tech Hornets, as their club is called, will be participating in two pumpkin drops this month in Charleston and at West Virginia University, and have two teams registered for the First LEGO League competition in November. If the teams do well in November, the group hopes to advance to the state competition in December.

The kind of competitions the STEM club participates in take months of advance work, which exposes them to lessons about robotics, rocketry, engineering and more. The LEGO competition also requires students to find a problem within their community and develop a solution. The problem was that EFMS didn’t have a recycling program, so the STEM club has developed a recycling program working with Resolute Forest Products and Novelis.

Their year-long dedication to these projects, events and competitions are hopefully laying the groundwork for the future, Tranter said.

“I always want them to leave having had a lot of fun and experienced a lot,” Tranter said. “I would like them to be set up for when they go on to high school and even further into a career in STEM that they have a good foundation for wherever they may go.”

Hunter Criss, a seventh-grade student and member of the STEM club, already has that path mapped out in his mind.

“I want to be an electrical engineer,” Criss said. “I love math. It’s what I’m best at.”

Email Misty Poe at or follow her on Twitter @MistyPoeTWV.



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