FLORENCE, S.C. – Duke Energy donated $50,000 to Florence One Schools to implement a clean energy curriculum this school year at West Florence High School.

“We’re just very thankful that [Chris Rogers] and Duke Energy and West Florence – we are able to afford all of our students a different opportunity, a different learning experience that they hadn’t had previously, and it will really open up their minds to various jobs and opportunities later in life as well,” Superintendent Richard O’Malley said about the donation.

The curriculum’s implementation will create four classes at the school that will allow students to work in solving problems in different areas, such as motors, generators, water and energy conservation, wind turbines, biofuel generation, bioreactors, water power and fuel cells, according to Chris Rogers, the director of STEM education for Florence One Schools.

Rogers said that by the end of the four classes, he hopes to have students with Duke Energy and have a mentor.

The donation, which started a class at West Florence High School, is part of a $3.2 million in funding for innovative K-12 education programs across communities that Duke Energy serves, according to release from Florence One Schools.

“Creating powerful communities means powering the lives of our customers and the vitality of the communities we serve,” said Mindy Taylor, the government and community relations manager for Duke Energy. “One way to do that is to partner with organizations that particularly can train our young people in energy, engineering and environmental programs, because we need those employees for the future.”

Students began the first class in the clean energy technology class this semester at West Florence High.

Science teacher Thomas Anderson said implementing the new class has been fun and challenging.

“They’ve (the students) been very enthusiastic, coming to class and ready to get working,” Anderson said. “It’s been very good, because several of them have never done project-based learning.”

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