Award-winning Tarpon Springs high school gets an early Christmas present

SME Education Foundation facilitates $68,000 Haas Automation entrustment to the Academy of Engineering at East Lake High School
DEARBORN, Mich. - Dec. 23, 2013 - PRLog -- When it comes to Christmas presents, bigger isn’t always better. But for East Lake High School in Tarpon Springs, Florida, this year’s Christmas present—weighing several tons—comes with distinct rewards.

SME Education Foundation ( gets to play Santa this year, announcing East Lake High School as the recipient of machining technology worth more than $68,000. Haas Automation ( will provide the school’s award-winning engineering program with a top-of-the-line, Haas TM-1P CNC vertical mill including 6 control simulator modules.

A track record of success
The ten-year-old Academy of Engineering at East Lake High School ( has exceeded expectations from day one.  Starting with just 22 students in 2003, the Academy has sinceenrolledover 600 students. Theirwait list averages 100 students per year. Graduates have an average weighted GPA of 4.3. Over90% go on to pursue post-secondary degrees, with 71% declaring engineering astheir major.

Their curriculum, which emphasizes hands-on experience, was developed using the principles outlined in Project Lead The Way’s “Pathway to Engineering.” In 2008, the Academy was recognized by Project Lead The Way as a top 10 national high school. In 2009, the Pinellas County Board of Education identified the Academy as a Center for Excellence. Earlier in 2013, the SME Education Foundation designated the Academy as a PRIME school, bringing national attention to the school’s outstanding manufacturing program.

Rodney Grover, Senior Development Officer for the SME Education Foundation which facilitated the grant, was enthusiastic in his praise: “The East Lake PRIME program under the direction of Paul Wahnish is producing results for the manufacturing community by inspiring, preparing and supporting the next generation of innovators for industry. Thanks to the generosity of Haas Automation, Career Technical Education Foundation and others, students at East Lake will be instructed using the latest in technology.”

Preparing the next generation of engineers
The receipt of the vertical mill will enable East Lake students to become proficient with current industry machining and CNC standard practices. In order to operate the CNC mill students will learn to translate academic theory into practice using mathematics, especially trigonometry and geometry.  CNC machinery also requires students to have basic computer coding skills. Eventually, they will also be able to compete for paid internships that are only available to students experienced with CNC machines.

By allowing the students to create their own parts (such as wheels, gears and sprockets), the Haas CNC vertical mill will also allow the Academy to save thousands of dollarseach year.

“The manufacturing industry is getting increasingly sophisticated,” noted Peter Zierhut, representative, Haas Automation. “We are committed to helping prepare the next generation of engineers and technologists. And we recognize thatcommitment needs to start early. Over the years, we have placed over three thousand machine tools at various educational institutions to help train future engineers and machinists.”

An ongoing commitmentthat Rodney Grover readily acknowledges: “The SME Education Foundation is grateful for the support of both Haas Automation and the Gene Haas Foundation who most recently gave $1 million in scholarship funding ( to support the machine trades throughout North America.”

About Haas Automation
Gene Haas founded Haas Automation, Inc., in 1983 to manufacture economical and reliable machine tools. Haas manufactures four major product lines: vertical machining centers (VMCs), horizontal machining centers (HMCs), CNC lathes and rotary tables, as well as a number of large five-axis and specialty machines. The company’s 1.3 million square foot facility in Oxnard, California, is the largest machine tool manufacturing operation in the United States.

About the SME Education Foundation
The SME Education Foundation is committed to inspiring, supporting, and preparing the next generation of manufacturing engineers and technologists. Created by SME in 1979, the SME Education Foundation has provided more than $33 million in grants, scholarships, and awards since 1980 through its partnerships with corporations, organizations, foundations, and individual donors. To learn more, visit the SME Education Foundation at (

About CTEF
Career Technical Education Foundation, Inc. (CTEF) is a not-for-profit 501 (c)(3) educational foundation created to work with and influence local educational systems through community and industry partnerships. CTEF is recognized nationally as a leader in building collaborative and supportive relationships between education, business and industry.  CTEF’s engineering program has been recognized as a top 10 national Project Lead the Way model school, designated a Center of Excellence by Pinellas County Schools, and selected nationally as a PRIME (Partnership Response in Manufacturing Education) STEM career academy in the U.S.   CTEF has implemented cyber security, engineering, and biomedical programs.  Visit for additional information.

Media Contacts
Jennifer Richmond, SME Education Foundation, (313) 425-3306,;
Peter Zierhut, Haas Automation, (805) 988-6990,
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Tags:Haas Automation, Sme-ef, Cnc, Christmas, High School
Industry:Education, Manufacturing
Location:Dearborn - Michigan - United States
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