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Home News-Telegram News ‘Star’ Giving: Local plant donates thousands of dollars in lab equipment to high school

‘Star’ Giving: Local plant donates thousands of dollars in lab equipment to high school

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Morningstar Foods Inc. has long been a generous corporate neighbor in Hopkins County, helping a number of charitable and nonprofit groups. The latest entity to benefit from the company’s largess is Sulphur Springs High School

The company donated between $8,000 and $10,000 worth of lab equipment to the advanced placement biology class, a contribution so plentiful other lab classes such as chemistry shared in the bounty as well.

And the items — particularly two microscopes and a lab incubator — arrived at just the right time.

The class, utilizing the petri dishes donated by Hopkins County Memorial and Presbyterian Greenville hospitals and the autoclave (similar to a big pressure cooker and used to sterilize items such as petri dishes) purchased by the school this year, collected bacteria samples. The cultures were stored and grown in the lab incubator donated by Morningstar, and the optics from two microscopes used to get a closeup view of the strains.

While the classroom had 10 microscopes furnished by the school, the optics did not sufficiently magnify the slides to properly view the tiny bacteria. The images were a bit blurry and undefined with the old microscopes. Using the new optics, students were able to see up-close what they were supposed to be learning, which is something the photographs in the textbook did not illustrate as effectively.

Seeing active strains of bacteria literally brought to life what the students were studying, helping differentiate between types of bacteria and reactions. That proved especially handy for students on classroom grades but also on the advanced placement test, for which students can earn college credit for students, according to Doss.

The microscopes were originally two of five donated to Bowie Elementary School. However, Bowie officials indicated they didn’t need all five and passed two along to the high school.

The lab incubator replaced a much smaller unit provided by the school which was not quite large enough to hold petri dishes for all 150 students in Doss’ classes. The new incubator allowed Doss to divide the unit up into sections, assigning shelves to each class.

In addition to the lab incubator and microscopes, Morningstar also donated a water bath to replace a very small unit provided by the school, as well as hundreds of test tubes and numerous specimen trays. The trays and tubes were abundant enough to share with the other labs.

Doss expressed to Wallace the need for the class to show appreciation for Morningstar’s generosity and to earn the donation through community service. Wallace has challenged Doss to have next year’s students consider a project involving recycling which could benefit the community and company.

“I made it clear I want the class to learn. This is not a free gift. They said they have a lot of paper to recycle. So I think I’m going to look into different options to have my class recycle, researching plastic bottles and paper,” Doss said.

This year’s advanced placement biology class will tour Morningstar’s facility before the end of the year, seeing firsthand from start to finish the many aspects involved in production, including classes.

The Morningstar plant converts raw milk into dairy products, such as International Delight and private label dairy and non-dairy coffee creamers, as well as various grades of soft-serve ice cream mix.




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