The program has been developed by Drax in partnership with the University of Louisiana at Monroe (ULM) to inspire local students to start thinking about their future and what they can achieve, as part of the energy company’s ongoing commitment to supporting education in the communities local to its operations.
A different class each month is awarded ‘Classroom of the Month’ by Drax and receives a visit from ULM representatives to reward the pupils for their hard work and show them some of the options available to them as they advance through school.
Drax has arranged for representatives from the University’s athletics department to visit the schools to talk to the students, raise awareness of the college and answer any questions they might have. The students also receive two tickets each to a Warhawk football, basketball, or baseball game and meet Ace, the team mascot.
Their teacher Laura Malone said: “My students loved being rewarded for working hard in their studies, and I know they’ll love going to a ULM football game. I think the program gives the students something to strive for during their time in school, and it lets them know that college is an option that’s available to them. With the Classroom of the Month program, the students are made aware of the rewards studying hard can bring to them, even at such a young age.”
Twice during the school year, the Classroom of the Month winners will be invited to the campus for a tour. The students will get to experience the university campus and learn about higher education opportunities right in their hometown.
Drew Bellipanni, Partnership Services Coordinator at ULM, said: “This program is a chance to give back to our local schools and teachers who have worked hard throughout the pandemic to continue teaching our children. We hope Classroom of the Month will motivate students to continue studying as well as see what college has to offer.”
Executive Vice President of Drax’s Pellet Operations, Matt White, said: “It’s so important that the next generation has equal access to education. Even though these children are in the early stages of their school careers, we hope this program will inspire them by showing them what opportunities are available to them in the future.”
Drax is committed to supporting the communities local to its operations and has this year, supported education and skills in Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas and Alabama and provided donations to help efforts to improve communities and work to support sustainable forestry.
In Louisiana, recent support has included donating to a veterans’ food drive, sponsoring a community garden and launching a classroom grants program.
Picture caption: Third graders at Jack Hayes Elementary School, winners of October’s Classroom of the Month, with ULM Hawkline members
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- Through its operations in Louisiana and Mississippi, Drax supports more than 1,200 jobs and contributes $175m to the region’s economy.
- This includes more than 1,200 jobs in Louisiana and Mississippi with 300 direct jobs across these two states in Drax’s three pellet mills and at the port of Greater Baton Rouge.
- Drax’s pellet mills also support the wider supply chain of loggers, truckers, railway workers, port workers and other logistics professionals.
Drax Group’s purpose is to enable a zero carbon, lower cost energy future and in 2019 announced a world-leading ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) technology.
Drax’s around 3,000 employees operate across three principal areas of activity – electricity generation, electricity sales to business customers and compressed wood pellet production and supply to third parties. For more information visit www.drax.com
Drax owns and operates a portfolio of renewable electricity generation assets in England and Scotland. The assets include the UK’s largest power station, based at Selby, North Yorkshire, which supplies five percent of the country’s electricity needs.
Having converted Drax Power Station to use sustainable biomass instead of coal it has become the UK’s biggest renewable power generator and the largest decarbonisation project in Europe. It is also where Drax is piloting the groundbreaking negative emissions technology BECCS within its CCUS (Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage) Incubation Area.
Its pumped storage, hydro and energy from waste assets in Scotland include Cruachan Power Station – a flexible pumped storage facility within the hollowed-out mountain Ben Cruachan.
The Group also aims to build on its BECCS innovation at Drax Power Station with a target to deliver 4 million tonnes of negative CO2 emissions each year from new-build BECCS outside of the UK by 2030 and is currently developing models for North American and European markets.
Pellet production and supply:
The Group has 18 operational pellet plants and developments with nameplate production capacity of around 5 million tonnes a year.
Drax is targeting 8 million tonnes of production capacity by 2030, which will require the development of over 3 million tonnes of new biomass pellet production capacity. The pellets are produced using materials sourced from sustainably managed working forests and are supplied to third party customers in Europe and Asia for the generation of renewable power.
Drax’s pellet plants supply biomass used at its own power station in North Yorkshire, England to generate flexible, renewable power for the UK’s homes and businesses, and also to customers in Europe and Asia.
Drax supplies renewable electricity to UK businesses, offering a range of energy-related services including energy optimisation, as well as electric vehicle strategy and management.
To find out more go to the website www.energy.drax.com