San Benito High School students visit SpaceX

Among the first to launch academies and educational curriculums focused on a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) Academy as well as a regional leader in Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs, San Benito CISD will continue to prepare students for advanced, highly skilled, and technological fields in all STEAM areas.

Last week,a total of 38 San Benito High School (SBHS) juniors and seniors in STEAM and STEM-related program, their principal Rudy Ramirez, CTE Director Fernando Rosa, and numerous teachers participated in a one-of-a-kind visit to the SpaceX South Texas launch site, located at Boca Chica approximately 20 miles east of Brownsville, Texas.

SpaceX, an American aerospace manufacturer, opened the Boca Chica site as a private rocket production facility, test site, and spaceport.

“The whole experience was very inspiring and made me realize how big the world is, and made me want to leave a huge footprint to impact the future just like they did,” said SBHS senior Cidney Castillo.

Students learned about the dynamics of the assembly line, attention to detail, certifications and education for the various positions in engineering, welding, and IT (Information Technology) administration to name a few.

“We were given the opportunity to see how their system operates and what it takes in order to lead the world in space exploration.  Personally, it opened my eyes to what goes on within the SpaceX facilities and it grew my interest in perhaps considering majoring in aerospace engineering or aeronautical physics,” shared SBHS senior Josue Monjaraz.

“Iloved how all the employees were allon task with their specific jobs and being able to see how it all gets pieced together, down to the bolt, to create such an amazing million-dollar product.Mr. Musk gives his employees ‘empowerment’ to make decisions and work as a team to get the job done, and if they fail, he wants this to be a learning experience,” shared CTE teacher Cynthia Zartuche.

Recently, San Benito CISD received a grant of $607,562 from The Musk Foundation. The donation was made after SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk announced via Twitter that he planned to donate $20 million to schools in Cameron County.

“We are ecstatic to have been selected as a recipient of this funding from The Musk Foundation and appreciate Mr. Musk’s support of our schools and our students,” said Superintendent Dr. Nate Carman.

“Considering the added challenges associated with educating students through this pandemic, the timing couldn’t be better,” he added.

San Benito CISD will be using the grant money to upgrade equipment and plans to purchase technology for teachers, specifically laptops and iPads. These much-needed resources will enhance educational learning for students and improve instructional modules between teachers and students.

Musk’s investment in education marks the beginning of strong partnerships as he continues to expand operations of his SpaceX company in the area. Cameron County has become an anchor for future space exploration and a testing site for the company’s newest model rockets.

As such, this will create more job opportunities and demand for a STEM/STEAM-based educated workforce.

“As a district dedicated to elevating opportunities in these fields, we look forward to the many exciting opportunities that this partnership will bring for our students,”explained Carman.