The Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, PNC Grow Up Great Education Day was held at The Palace of Auburn Hills on Wednesday, May 4, 2016. The Palace hosted 500 DPS preschoolers as they participated in STEM activities within the arena.
For the fifth consecutive year, the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix and PNC teamed up to incorporate PNC’s signature early childhood education initiative, PNC Grow Up Great and the Fifth Gear education programs, into pre-race activities designed to enrich the development of Detroit Public School (DPS) students.
Building on the partnership that began in 2012 between the Grand Prix and PNC, both the PNC Grow Up Great and Fifth Gear programs combine math and science themes with motorsports in real-world applications to help expose DPS students to engineering and technology-based careers. The programs are funded by a grant from the PNC Foundation, which receives its principal funding from The PNC Financial Services Group (NYSE: PNC), under the stewardship of the Detroit Public Schools Foundation. For the past several weeks, the science and math curriculums have been incorporated in the classrooms for each participating school, helping to build the excitement for the Grand Prix’s return to Belle Isle Park, June 3-5.
During the event, students received a hands-on application of the curriculum as part of the PNC Grow Up Great program during the PNC Racing Fair at The Palace of Auburn Hills. The students used their knowledge they have learned in nine different activity stations including a gravity track, human powered engine, jet toys and more. IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship drivers and brothers Ricky and Jordan Taylor visited with the students and participated in some of the activities while looking ahead to the Grand Prix.
In addition to the event’s Racing Fair, the Grand Prix and about 35 teamGM Cares employee volunteered to host approximately 300 DPS fifth graders on June 2 during Education Day on Belle Isle leading into the race weekend. The GM employees will guide these Fifth Gear students through STEM interactive modules that demonstrate aero dynamics, gravity, friction and more.
PNC Grow Up Great is a multi-year, $350 million initiative created to improve early childhood education, primarily in underserved areas. PNC launched a three-year program in science and the arts for DPS preschool students in 2010 with a $2.1 million commitment, and extended the program for two additional years and another $950,000 in 2014.