Tonawanda News

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August 29, 2013

Challenger Center opening in Lockport

(Continued)

Tonawanda News — According to CLC-ONE board member Donald Stopp, some school districts in Erie County have been sending students to the Dresser Rand CLC in Allegany or the CLC of Greater Rochester, whichever is closest. Once the ONE center is up and running, by national licensing rules, those schools would be referred to it.

“The program is already recognized,” Stopp said. “We’re trying to fill a need.”

Volunteer Laura Stewart-Beach, who’s been writing grant applications for CLC-ONE, said she’s a supporter after learning studies show that students’ test scores rise with participation in Challenger Learning programs. She remembers that her son, who’s entering sixth grade at Starpoint Central School, struggled to grasp space science; and she thinks he would have gotten it more readily had instruction been hands-on, versus abstract.

The promise of CLCs is to encourage STEM competence in youths, which they’ll need to succeed as adults in our post-industrial economy, Stewart-Beach said.

“Look around: Trek is here. Yahoo! is here. The trend is toward high-tech jobs. ... There is definitely a need for this program here,” she said.

On Monday, Michaels secured promises from U.S. Rep. Chris Collins, R-Clarence, and state Sen. George Maziarz, R-Newfane, to help connect CLC-ONE with potential funders.

Maziarz offered to contact Sam Hoyt, Empire State Development regional president, and University at Buffalo President Satish K. Tripathi, an engineer who’s also co-chairman of the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council.

The council is steering spending of the so-called “Buffalo Billion,” money pledged by the state over 10 years to advance economic development in Western New York.

While searching for grants and corporate benefactors, CLC-ONE is continuing its membership drive. To be a “lunar level” member costs $25; and new members receive five entries in a vacation-anywhere raffle to be drawn later this year. The winner gets a paid week at the Wyndham Resort of their choice anywhere in the United States, Mexico or the Caribbean. To purchase a membership, send a check to the CLC of O.N.E. at 210 Walnut St., Lockport, NY 14094.

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