Pine Bush High School
GENE HAAS FOUNDATION
Gene Haas Foundation Invests in Pine Bush High School and its Students
Earlier this year Pine Bush High School became the first high school in the world to receive a naming grant from the Gene Haas Foundation. Haas Automation is an industry-leading machine tool manufacturing company headquartered in California. Their foundation supports career and technical education programs across the nation and has donated $250,000 in support of Pine Bush’s STEAM program.
The grant will help renovate and expand space at the school for the program. Four new classrooms and an addition outside of the building are included in the construction plans. Renovations will begin in July with a two-year timeline for completion.
Expanding the space means more students can participate in the program. There will be more space for machines for training, and the design lab and woodshop will receive upgrades as well.
A Unique School
“For [Hass] to want to invest a quarter million dollars in support of our program shows the level of commitment that we have to our students and the quality of program that our teachers are producing,” says Aaron Hopmayer, Pine Bush High School Principal.
Expanding the STEAM program means a much larger demographic of students will have opportunities, explains Kenny Marshall, Secondary STEAM Coach at Pine Bush. The school has expanded its reach so that a wide range of students can train. “From the most at-risk student to the valedictorian–they are in these programs and they’re working together. It’s a great level playing ground for everyone,” he says.
The school is composed of 1,800 students with about 300 taking STEAM courses.
In March 2020, Pine Bush became the forty-sixth high school in the country with a program sponsored by SME PRIME (Society of Manufacturing Engineer’s Partnership Response In Manufacturing Education). The Council of Industry helped connect Pine Bush with SME. Hopmayer and Marshall expect the number of students in PRIME to increase as the STEAM program expands.
The program has allowed students who choose not to pursue post-secondary education to find job placement in manufacturing companies.
The program has allowed students who choose not to pursue post-secondary education to find job placement in manufacturing companies. Two students were recently hired at CreoDent and other local companies have directly asked for Pine Bush students. In the past several years, students have received $35,000 in scholarships alone from Haas.
Pine Bush has a partnership allowing its students to collaborate with RPI students in their senior capstone manufacturing. Students have also worked with RPI by creating parts for mechanical pencils to send to RPI students. The high school seniors learn on the same machines as RPI seniors.
“I haven’t seen many high schools at the level of Pine Bush and the dedication that they put into the program,” says Marty McGill, VP of Allendale Machinery Systems, who is working alongside Pine Bush and Haas. McGill emphasizes the mutual benefit to students and the Hudson Valley: students will graduate from high school with training experience and local manufacturers will have access to skilled candidates. “Pine Bush has a great program. The students are very, very lucky to have a school and people who are willing to make it happen,” he says. Hopmayer explains that the program allows students to learn about different sectors before having to commit to a specific career path. “We try to expose kids while they’re in high school to all these different career opportunities. College is an expensive way to learn,” he says.
“Expanding the STEAM program means a much larger demographic of students will have opportunities.”
– Kenny Marshall, Secondary STEAM Coach at Pine Bush
In the future, Hopmayer and Marshall look to partner with businesses to expand the reach of their program. Additionally, they plan to tweak some course curricula to align with the Council of Industry apprentice requirements, so students can enter the apprenticeship program in an advanced place. They also want to refurbish all the STEAM programs and update space and machinery. They look to have more students involved with STEAM and eventually open more opportunities for extracurricular activities, such as an afterschool program or late night program opened to adults and the public.
To learn more about how you can support or become more involved with Pine Bush’s STEAM Program contact:
Aaron Hopmayer, Pine Bush High School Principal. firstname.lastname@example.org