Verizon Wireless IndyCar Series driver Juan Pablo Montoya credits math, physics and engineering as contributing factors to his success on the racetrack. Montoya recently drove home the importance of learning to students at Napa Junction Elementary School, where he presented a $10,000 grant on behalf of Verizon Wireless to further accelerate the school’s science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. Montoya was in town to compete in the Verizon Wireless IndyCar Series at the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma, Calif.
Napa Junction, a magnet school located in American Canyon, Calif., offers a special curriculum focused on STEM education. The theme-based approach of a magnet school provides students with a project-based learning environment to increase student achievement and motivation, and better prepare them for the real world.
Since becoming a magnet school earlier this year, Napa Junction has immersed its students in STEM. For example, in June, the fourth grade class participated in a challenge to engineer gravity-powered cars to learn about friction and force and, ultimately, how things move.
“It doesn’t matter what you want to do, whether a racecar driver, doctor or engineer,” Montoya said. “You can get there if you believe in yourself and work harder than everyone around you.”
Montoya, who started racing in Colombia at the age of four, talked to the students about the importance of working hard to reach their goals and using education to maximize their talents. He stayed after the check presentation to sign autographs, take photos and show kids the car he would be racing in Sonoma.
"We always need funds for more technology, more science equipment, more engineering and robotics kits – so this grant is extremely helpful," said principal Donna Drago.
Since 2000, Verizon Wireless has invested more than a half billion dollars to help make our communities a better place to live and work – almost half of that has supported education initiatives. The donation to Napa Junction Elementary is part of a larger company-wide initiative to give back to the communities Verizon Wireless serves and further education to help individuals and families transform their lives.
To learn more about other ways Verizon supports education, visit: http://www.verizonfoundation.org/our-focus/#education