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THIRD GRADERS at Kiroli Elementary School, winners of May's Classroom of the Month with Ace, the Warhawk team mascot.

​Drax’s Classroom of the Month for May was awarded to third-grade pupils at Kiroli Elementary School in West Monroe for making consistent progress on their academic and reading skills and working hard to achieve their goals.

Their teacher Rebecca Walker said: “The kids were so excited to be awarded Classroom of the Month and meet Ace the Warhawk. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been difficult for the students to catch up and this program helps motivate them to do their best. It gives them something to work towards and makes them feel appreciated and recognized for their hard work.

“I’m sure meeting Ace and learning about ULM has sparked their interest in all that college has to offer. It gives them something to look forward to as they progress through school.”

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 higher education and what they can achieve, as part of the energy company’s ongoing commitment to supporting education in the communities local to its operations. Drew Bellipanni, Partnership Services Co-ordinator 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.”

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 in their hometown 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.

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 through a variety of measures that include sponsoring educational programs and providing support in times of crisis, including during the Covid-19 pandemic and recent natural disasters such as Hurricane Ida.

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