11/12/06 — Duplin to study creating program

View Archive

Duplin to study creating program

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on November 12, 2006 2:01 AM

Duplin County students interested in studying math, science, technology and engineering may soon have their own specialized study program thanks in part to Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

The school district recently received a $40,000 grant to study creating such an institute at James Kenan High School.

The money is coming from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. James Kenan was one of only 10 schools in North Carolina to receive the grant.

"The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation gives money to start new and innovative schools, which is what we're trying to do. It sounded like such a good opportunity for our school system and county that we decided to do a grant proposal," Duplin Superintendent Dr. Wiley Doby said. "We're going to be studying the feasiblity of it this year."

"The purpose of it would be to give our students the most advanced coursework that could be available."

Doing so, he continued, would give students early exposure to such subjects, possibly increasing their collegiate opportunities. The hope then would be that students would come back and contribute to the county's agribusiness or hospital industries.

"We feel this can be a win-win situation for our students, our various businesses and the county as a whole," Doby said. "It certainly can be an economic development tool."

The institute would be open to students from all four of the county's high schools, but would be housed at James Kenan, because it is in the approximate middle of the county and is where the school system owns 23 acres of empty land.

Doby is hopeful that the county will be able to bring the project to fruition.

"Without having the benefit of doing the feasibility study, I say where there's a will, there's a way. I certainly think we have the ability to pull it off," he said.