Young minds compete to create a technology-based need for South Texas counties

LIFT students: Juliet Priddy, Samara Morgan, Mikaela Vargas, Corina Rivera, Makayla Rodriguez, Darrian Rodgers, Ilicia Perez, Christina Dotson, Jesse Pulido and Mason Martinez.

The Premont Independent School District, in partnership with the Rural Schools Innovation Zone (RSIZ), is a national finalist for the $ 100,000 Rural Tech Project.

RSIZ, a cooperation of the rural school districts in Freer, Falfurrias and Premont, joined forces in 2019 to participate in an innovative program.

Run by a non-profit board of directors made up of regional education leaders and district officials, RSIZ is helping transform the rural school experience by providing high quality preparation for post-secondary success. Elements of the RSIZ model were tested in pilot projects, with more than 100 students gaining access to specialized courses at the other campuses and early college high school programs through Texas A&M University – Kingsville, Del Mar College, and Coastal Bend College.

Premont high school

Leaders in Future Technology (LIFT) is a collaboration of 25 students from the three districts who applied to the US Department of Education to apply for a technology competition and learning program. The South Texas students were one of 78 applications across the country to participate.

The group will create, design and implement a technology-driven, community-based demand in the three counties. The main goal is to identify a specific community problem that they would like to address with a technology-enabled solution. The LIFT students have until this summer to come up with a plan, by which time they will travel to Austin to read the minds of the big tech giants for insights. After Austin, the group will get together and complete the project and work-based learning experience.