New magnet school hopes to foster interest in energy industry at young age

May 15, 2013 4:52:42 PM PDT
It's no secret the Bayou City is the epicenter of the energy industry. Now a new magnet school in Houston hopes to foster interest in that industry at a young age.

In the fall, HISD will be home to the first high school anywhere in the nation focused on the energy industry. It's a new magnet program aimed at helping not just the students, but also the future of traditional and alternative energy production.

It might not look like much now, but the former Holden Elementary School is about to be infused with a first-of-its-kind electrical charge.

"It's taken about every ounce of energy that I have so far," said Lori Lambropoulos, Principal of the Energy Institute High School.

The school is a select program for 200 freshman, to start.

"We're taking students at a young age who have a predisposition in math, science, and technology, and really creating in them a passion for these types of professions," Lambropoulos said.

In the so-called energy capital of the world at its disposal, the school will use cutting edge technology with a project-based curriculum to drill for the next generation of engineers and geoscientists.

"We are going to encompass three very large pathways for students," said Lambropoulos, "One of them is going to be in off-shore technology. One of them is going to be in geosciences, which is oil and gas. And the other one is going to be in alternative energy forms."

"We just want to keep it very realistic and very hands-on," said Doris Richardson with the Independent Petroleum Association of America.

The IPAA is a partner with the school, providing mentors, field trips, and monthly speakers who'll engage the students in a non-traditional environment.

"Anything that makes math and science more meaningful and relevant is a win-win situation for the industry as well as for the school district," Richardson said.

The Energy Institute located in the Heights is one of two HISD magnet schools opening next year. There is also Ryan Middle School on Elgin which becomes the Baylor College of Medicine Academy. They join the Mandarin Chinese Language Immersion Magnet School in Bellaire, which opened this year, as the newest magnets.

The deadline to apply to any special program is Thursday. For the Energy Institute it's May 23; though if there are open spots left the deadline will be extended.
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