Elizabeth River Crossings Partners with STARBASE Victory to Support STEM Education

(November 4, 2020 Portsmouth, VA) In 2019, Elizabeth River Crossings OpCo, LLC (ERC) pledged $45,000 ($15,000
per year for three years) to support the STARBASE Victory programs. The recent September grant was ERC’s
second $15,000 donation. It will support the rollout of the new STARBASE virtual program, called Project SCOUT
(STARBASE Connections & Outreach Using Technology).

“This donation could not have come at a better time, “said Retired Admiral Bill Hayden, founder and executive
director of STARBASE. “The COVID pandemic has severely stressed the Portsmouth Public School district and our
STARBASE program. Producing virtual lessons and the materials necessary for students to perform STEM projects
at home has doubled our program costs. The 4 th , 5 th and 6 th graders in Portsmouth look forward to their STARBASE
experience every year, so we stretched to provide them that opportunity. The pledge from Elizabeth River
Crossings helped us to initiate Project SCOUT.”

“Elizabeth River Crossings is proud of the three-year partnership we’ve cultivated with STARBASE, “ said Doug
Wilson, ERC’s chief executive officer. “This program goes well beyond the basics, providing young students with
the ability to explore new interests while challenging them to think critically. Right now, STEM education feels
more vital than ever, and we’re excited to help provide opportunities for these 4 th , 5 th and 6 th graders to dive right
in, even if it’s from home for now.”

STARBASE is a nonprofit that has graduated over 18,000 Portsmouth Public Schools elementary students, providing
them with STEM skills that will start them down the path to future jobs in today’s economy. All 4 th , 5 th , and 6 th
graders (over 3,000 students every year) participate in the one of the three STARBASE core programs, where every
child is encouraged to pursue newfound interests in math and science. Historically, students were brought to the
STARBASE facility within Victory Elementary School for four, day-long sessions. The curriculum for each grade
contributes directly to the education of the future workforce in Hampton Roads where STEM skills are becoming
more and more important. Shipbuilding and repair, solar and wind power generation, and climate change issues
are at the forefront of tomorrow’s economy. The three STARBASE core programs are: SPACEBASE, which
emphasizes spatial literacy and introduces a Port of Virginia project to 1000 4th graders; ENVIROBASE for 5 th
graders which emphasizes environmental stewardship and the importance of oysters in the Elizabeth River
ecosystem; and AEROBASE for 6 th graders which emphasizes elementary physics and introduces Mars exploration.

The STARBASE school year began virtually on October 13 th , ushering in Project SCOUT, This innovative approach to
STEM education has the following objectives:

  • Increase student interest and skills in STEM disciplines
  • Broaden student understanding of real-world STEM applications
  • Challenge students to think critically and solve problems logically
  • Inspire the students to consider additional STEM courses and future STEM-related career paths

Project SCOUT will provide continuity for the STARBASE core curricula during the pandemic. The program is
designed to engage the students and their families with interesting, online STEM projects. The STARBASE team
believes this initiative will create a new dimension to STEM learning and lead to future “exportable” lessons that
will inspire children to pursue new interests. When students return to the classrooms under “new normal”
conditions, STARBASE will be in a much better position to continue, even expand, this outreach initiative.


Since 2002, STARBASE Victory has been providing exciting, innovative STEM programs to elementary school
students in Portsmouth. The 501(C)3 nonprofit is a unique partnership with Portsmouth Public Schools and the
community.  During the school year, the program serves all fourth, fifth and sixth graders in the city (over 3000
students annually).  For those who are inspired by their STARBASE experience, the program offers a large number
of free STEM summer camps. With over 18,000 graduates since its inception, STARBASE is a proven model for early
STEM education.  In an effort to reach other school systems and businesses interested in improving STEM skills in
the workforce, STARBASE hosted the region’s first STEM Education Awards Dinner in March…just before the
pandemic changed the world.  For more information about the STARBASE STEM education programs, please
visit www.starbasevictory.org.

Media Contact:
Susan Long-Molnar, Development Director STARBASE Victory, Inc.
757-513-8633 or developmentdirector@starbasevictory.org