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College admission is competitive. Students today need to work harder than ever to stand out and maximize their chance of future success. Enter the Stafford Academy for Technology (STAT) program. STAT is a four-year college-prep program of study using a hands-on, project-based model of instruction focused on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). It's goal to help equip students for any program of study in the college or university of their choosing.

This year is an exciting year for program as graduates its first class this month. Students in the program are required to complete a senior research project as part of their graduation requirement. STAT student Griffin Fountain, who will be attending Rowan University this fall, designed a flip flop that is safe for your feet. He worked with his chiropractor and a local company that designs shoe inserts to complete the project.

Adam Pruitt (Old Dominion University) and Metea Tindal (Penn State) are another example of STAT student ingenuity. These two have been working on a new rack shovel combo, involving several local companies on their prototypes.

You may curious as to how such a program came into existence. It comes from the mind of Kathy Burant, Career and Technical Education Director, who implemented the program in 2008. The program now has 240 students enrolled and its goal is to help students prepare more effectively for STEM college majors while still in high school.

The STAT program is designed to be a better way for students to prepare for college. The program is designed to help students develop a larger perspective on their field of focus rather than learning by memorizing and repeating facts. Ann Emerson, Stafford County School-to-Career Specialist, said that those who typically do best in the STAT program are those prepared to take Algebra by 8th grade. Students interested in this program, and a future career in engineering or medicine, are encouraged to be A students in math, developing strong and confident skills as they ascend to the next level.

Interested in learning more about the STAT program and its admission requirements? Visit 

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Pouches' Community Corner

On August 17, three weeks after a routine pediatrician appointment for their then 4-month-old son, Levi, Liz and Angel Colon received news that no parent ever wants to hear: Levi’s liver wasn’t processing bile correctly, and he will very likely need a liver transplant—and time is of the essence.

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Read more about baby Levi and his family's fight for a new liver.