Efforts by volunteers and students to keep specialized engineering and design classes open to students at Tehachapi High School have paid off.

Classes in the program known as Project Lead the Way are now back on track for the 2017-2018 school year — and those aren't the only high-tech projects planned.

The Foundation for the Carolinas presented a $100,000 grant to the Tehachapi Unified School District board on Aug. 8.

Because the individual sponsor of the grant wants to remain anonymous, the presentation was given by the board of the Arts Science and Technology Educational Corp. of Tehachapi.

“It’s really exciting and we are hoping that getting the Project Lead the Way program going again, as well as having the STEAM center open on the campus, will be great,” said Laura Lundberg, the director for AST.

The grant assists in funding the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math program, which has activities such as the Intermediate Space Challenge, Lego Robotics, Destination Imagination, Tech Trek campers, and restoring three engineering and design classes at THS.

Adam Hansen, a current THS senior, is looking forward to continuing to take classes in digital design and principles of engineering.

“I’m ecstatic about it and these are the best classes on campus," Hansen said after leaning about the donation. "I’m interested in engineering jobs and have had the chance to job shadow at NASA.”

As a result of taking the classes, he has had the opportunity to network, look at a variety of career options and plans to pursue mechanical engineering.

A PowerPoint presentation by Lundberg covered how the grant will help students to be interested in science and math, and additional projects that are planned.

The Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Agriculture and Mathematics Center that is soon to be completed will welcome the whole community to explore a space shuttle simulator, 3-D printer, reality sandbox, virtual reality lab, TV screen and overhead projector and 12 computers.

As a whole, these activities will teach computer-aided design classes, how to read topographic maps, develop video games, and explore careers in multiple fields. The center is run by volunteers from AST and its leaders hope to have more people volunteer in the future.

“We are so excited and supportive and are looking forward to the STEAM center opening up. They have so much vision and are really a delight to work with,” said superintendent Susan Andreas-Bervel.

In addition, extra activities separate from TUSD are in the works. AST plans to have an astronomy trailer that will be transported to schools every month. Students can use telescopes, virtual reality goggles, a night scope to see planets and advanced visual and audio system technology.

There is also a program for high school students to join a rocketry club, for the Tehachapi Society of Pilots to build a plane and for students to participate in the solar eclipse project on Aug. 21 utilizing four solar telescopes.

For more information, contact Laura Lundberg at 661-821-0463 or thanelaura@sbcglobal.net.