Harlan County High School student participates in STEM academy

Published 10:30 am Wednesday, August 30, 2023

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Staff Report

Harlan County High School sophomore Shania Middleton was honored during a recent Harlan County Board of Education meeting for her participation in the Appalachian Regional Commission’s STEM Academy Bridge Program at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tennessee this summer.

“I am very thankful for the very prestigious program which I had the opportunity to participate in this summer,” Middleton said. “I got to do so many awesome STEM activities and even toured the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. I want to thank everyone who made this program possible.”

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Middleton took part in the Bridge program, a new, two-week residential experience for those who have completed the middle school program as an eighth grader but are not old enough to apply for the high school program.

Participants work with a master and assistant teacher to expand upon the project completed in the middle school academy.

Superintendent Brent Roark presented Middleton with an award for completing the program. He stated she is an outstanding student with a tremendous future ahead. Middleton has been previously honored by the Board of Education for various academic achievements.

“It is an awesome program,” Middleton said, pointing out highlights including water testing in the Oak Ridge area, tours of numerous facilities and fund activities such as a riverboat cruise and trip to Dollywood.

Middleton mentioned that the Bridge program is designed to fill a gap between the middle and high school programs.

“I will definitely apply for the high school program,” she said.

In addition to research, many other activities are incorporated into the program to promote teamwork, expose students to college opportunities, and encourage pride in the cultural richness and historical importance of the Appalachian region.

The program includes group presentations by students and teachers about their projects and research findings.

Shania is the granddaughter of Bobby and Josephine Middleton and the daughter of Angie Middleton.