At 32, I was a single father with two children, working full-time, while pursuing an engineering degree at LSU. Reflecting back, my daughters were a huge inspiration for me. Thank God for His grace and a community that gave me support to persevere. The LSU Board of Supervisors Scholarship that I received was life-changing and provided the encouragement and financial assistance during a challenging time in my life.
Now I have the opportunity to show my appreciation to those that helped me (specifically, Rolfe McCollister Jr. and Dr. Tom Greene) by investing in WeProduceGrads so that others can be encouraged to pursue their own education and career goals.
We hope you will join us in supporting our program by purchasing the student grown produce, visiting our Aquaponic labs, or donating to the Greene House at Istrouma.
Founded in 2018, We Produce Grads is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that promotes STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) based learning in North Baton Rouge public schools by creating Aquaponics Learning Laboratories to engage students with critical thinking, problem-solving, leadership and business development skills to become the world's next innovative leaders. Our goal is to provide Aquaponics program students with college scholarships funded by the profits from the hydroponically grown vegetable produce creating a sustainable operation.
The mission of We Produce Grads is to expose students to STEM education with a practical approach that includes entrepreneurial skills to develop high school graduates prepared to excel on the career path to college or business ownership.
With the wonderful assistance from the East Baton Rouge Parish School System and their Foundation, WeProduceGrads was able to successfully launch the Aquaponics-STEM pilot project in Fall 2017 at Brookstown Middle with the implementation of "Building a Bridge" for graduating middle school students to continue the Aquaponics program and education at the neighboring, Istrouma High School.
Brookstown Middle School
Brookstown Middle School's vision is to create and maintain a well-rounded, nurturing environment with a STEAM foundation which will allow students to achieve academic success while engaging all stakeholders. The mission of BMS is designed to teach and help students gain unparalleled achievement resulting in their academic and personal development and success.
Istrouma High School
The Istrouma High School Advisory Council researched curriculum and course opportunities that aligned to prevailing job opportunities in the area.
The committee then used feedback obtained from the community and businesses to develop the pathway opportunities for students at Istrouma.
The nucleus of Istrouma High School, Career Readiness and College Prep Program affords students the knowledge and skills for successful transition into the 21st Century Workforce.
With a host of career options, students will receive the education and training necessary to secure a college degree, technical certification, and/or apprenticeship.
These students are all a part of history. One day they may look back and see that they were a part of creating a pipeline of inventive skills and career opportunities right here in their own community. It all starts with the leadership of We Produce Grads bringing this innovative learning approach to the schools which will result in a sustainable ecosystem of fresh food in North Baton Rouge.
Mayor-President of the City of Baton Rouge Sharon Weston-Broome
EBR School Board
The Aquaponics program at Brookstown has been a godsend to students and community members alike. The hands-on level of engagement that students enjoy is the type of curriculum more students need, as well as the sense of pride students gain through their work with major community partners like Exxon, Tony's Seafood, Foundation for EBRS and others. It is project based learning at it's finest.
Aquaponics has truly been a wonderful experience in our school. Our students have had hands on learning and problem solving experiences that has been vital in making school fun and exciting for them. Its truly a phenomenal STEM initiative here at Brookstown Middle School.
EBR School Board
When the magnet program at BMS was moved to Istrouma, students were left with a void until Mr. Ronnie bought this “special” idea of learning to the school. I’ve witnessed a light being turned on with several students measuring the fish tank’s pH level for the first time in their lab. I’m very proud of our state’s first successful Aquaponics program, future Scientist, and rapid expansion into Istrouma High.