Goodnight Scholars bring STEM experiences to Thomas Academy

October 18, 2019

Lake Waccamaw, NC – There was a high energy level in each of the science classes held at Thomas Academy on Friday, Oct. 11, as eight students from the NC State University’s Goodnight Scholars Program provided hands on activities in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, subjects.

 “We were contacted by the NCSU Goodnight Scholars last spring to start coordinating this visit,” said Thomas Academy Director Dr. Geraldine Bradshaw. “We saw this as a fantastic partnership to help bring STEM to life for our students from a different perspective.”

Begun in 2008 through a gift from Dr. Jim and Ann Goodnight, the Goodnight Scholars Program invests in the untapped potential of students from low to middle income families throughout North Carolina who pursue a degree in STEM or STEM education at NC State University. In addition to scholarship support for the students, the Scholars have access to programming focused on their professional and personal growth.

The visit to Thomas Academy was part of a service trip the Scholars participated in during their fall break from classes.

“This program understands the value of serving students of North Carolina and paying it forward towards future generations, especially those who do not have as many opportunities towards higher education,” said Logan Boyles, one of the Scholars who helped coordinate the visit. “One of the many ways our program gets involved in the community is by sending trained and passionate college students to work with schools and afterschool programs through STEM activities. These experiences have been known to foster interest in college and STEM careers for students as well as grant an enriching experience for our scholars.”

While this was the first fall break trip for the group, they have done spring break trips in the past to work specifically with rural middle schools across the state.

“We believe students like those at Thomas Academy deserve all the opportunities they can get and we loved the opportunity to work with them,” said Boyles.

Fellow Goodnight Scholar Melanie Hardee agreed.

“Our team members have left this trip feeling wiser, more equipped in STEM education and grateful for wonderful educators,” said Hardee. “From my perspective, the Thomas Academy students and faculty were nothing less than respectful and appreciative of our time. We hope that the students enjoyed our activities as much as we did and that this will be a continuing partnership between our program and Thomas Academy.”

About The Goodnight Scholars Program

The Goodnight Scholars Program, funded by a gift from Dr. Jim and Ann Goodnight, began in 2008 with 25 scholars. Since that time, it has grown into a comprehensive student development program designed to develop scholars into leaders within the STEM and/or education fields. The scholarship is available to low and middle-income families from North Carolina and is limited to students studying in the STEM disciplines or affiliated education majors. In addition to the scholarship, Goodnight Scholars have access to an assortment of developmental programming focused on their professional and personal growth. To learn more, visit

About Thomas Academy

Thomas Academy is a North Carolina Public Charter School that educates middle and high school students. Located in Lake Waccamaw, the academy provides a tailored academic experience to students who are oftentimes in need of a more specialized, integrated curriculum. Thomas Academy was founded on personalization in education, unique offerings and educating through purposeful design. Enrollment is open to any student in grades six through 12. To learn more, visit