HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Some Huntsville students are getting a life-changing opportunity this summer to learn about STEM, visit colleges and prep for the ACT, thanks to The Cap and Gown Project.
Teachers in Huntsville City Schools came up with the idea for The STEM Summer Institute four years ago for students to expose them to opportunities they otherwise wouldn't get.
"It tells them a lot about leadership and motivation, they're choosing to be here during their summer and it's also great practice for those foundational skills, exposure to fields they may not have heard of before -- that makes for a better human being and a better student in the college world," said teacher Nicole Franklin.
The students are spending the summer working toward their futures by practicing for the ACT.
"It's also helped me bring up my ACT score to get into colleges that I probably otherwise wouldn't have gotten into," said Lee High School senior Tamara Thomas.
They also learn about different careers with a focus on STEM. Lee High School senior Oshea Beckford joined the program to raise her ACT score, but she says she's leaving with a new life-long interest in STEM.
"We're doing a lot of rocket building classes, most of the sciences and focusing on math. Before I wouldn't have done that, but now I'm like 'hey this is cool,'" said Beckford.
The program also gets students out and about in the community and on the road, visiting colleges.
Lee High School Senior Tamara Thomas says the experience, to her, has been priceless.
"This program has gotten me motivated for this school year and for my future," said Thomas.
The program is working. According to officials, 100 percent of STEM Summer Institute students have been accepted into college.