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49ers STEM Leadership Institute Celebration of Scholars and Ribbon Cutting


Sixty students from Cabrillo Middle School received a grand introduction to the school's newly-minted 49ers STEM Leadership Institute's Chevron STEM Zone as the 49ers Foundation and Chevron kicked off the program with a celebration of scholars and  ribbon cutting on Friday, July 18th.

"When we broke ground on Levi'sÒ Stadium 26 months ago, an idea started germinating about doing something really significant in the community commensurate with when we were cutting the ribbon on Levi'sÒ Stadium," said Joanne Pasternack, director of community relations & 49ers Foundation. "We went through a number of ideas, but the item that really resonated with our ownership and with the 49ers Foundation and our mission, was taking outstanding kids who are under resourced and helping them have the opportunity to become absolutely exceptional and to do amazing things in their life."

The Celebration of Scholars event was highlighted by the drafting of the Class of 2020 Scholars and culminated with the ribbon cutting and opening of the Chevron STEM Zone, an interactive space at Santa Clara's Cabrillo Middle School for students to learn how science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) are connected to everyday life. The innovative, interactive classroom and engaging STEM curriculum has been developed with SVEF and SCUSD as a significant component of the $4 million investment made by the 49ers Foundation and Chevron to create a results-focused learning environment and give additional advanced education opportunities for Santa Clara area students.  In addition to the classroom at Cabrillo, the grant from Chevron will support STEM education programming at the Denise DeBartolo York Education Center's Chevron STEM ZONE at the 49ers Museum,. The Museum's education program will offer more than 20,000 local students the opportunity to see how football can serve as a platform to explore and understand STEM concepts during the first year of the Museum's operation.

Friday's ceremony included 49ers ownership, Chevron executives, 49ers alumni and players, along with SCUSD and Cabrillo Middle School leadership and Santa Clara elected officials, who joined the class of 2020 as they were inducted into the Institute. During the event, Chevron, SCUSD and SVEF provided the nearly 60 students and guests with a STEM-based kickoff lesson focused on the Science of Football.

"Our family has always been interested in education," said John York, co-chairman of the San Francisco 49ers. "My father-in-law, Ed DeBartolo, Sr., always felt like that if you could give people an education, they can make a way for themselves and their lives. And the 49ers Foundation's mission has been to keep kids safe, on track and in school."

The 49ers STEM Leadership Institute is a long-term commitment, funded by the 49ers Foundation, Chevron and other collaborative partners, which will provide academically talented, yet under-resourced students the tools needed to grow and enhance their talents in STEM fields. The Institute will recruit rising seventh grade students each year from SCUSD who show academic promise. The Institute will then prepare them to engage in scientific research, impactful community-changing projects, or become entrepreneurs—putting them on the path to pursue a STEM major at a top-tier university. 

"My mother was a school teacher, my father was the son of Italian immigrants," said Denise DeBartolo York, co-chairman of the San Francisco 49ers. "They always thought that education could level the playing field with at-risk students that were disadvantaged and didn't have the wherewithal. Once you enable them to get an education, it's an even playing field."

The shared vision of the 49ers STEM Leadership Institute and 49ers Museum education program is to build future leaders in STEM. The Institute  will focus on four main areas: 1.) Academic excellence, 2.) Leadership development, 3.) Task commitment (through increased risk-taking, determination and initiative) and 4.) Creativity (by developing of curiosity and imagination). The Museum's program will offer more than 25 different lessons to students in grades K-8 via a field trip and in-class experience, with the goal of lighting a fire and driving interest in the STEM disciplines. More information on that program is available at

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