By ROBERT STORACE
NEW BRITAIN — Keeping with its mission to help young people prosper, the Petit Foundation has awarded a $15,000 grant that will benefit two relatively new programs at New Britain High School.
The grant, awarded earlier this month, will benefit the school’s Health Academy and a program steeped in math and sciences that’s aimed at supporting young women in the sciences.
The Health Academy was established in September 2010 with about 60 students. Today the popular program, which helps young people prepare for jobs in the health care field, has more than 200 students.
The math and science program, or the STEM Academy, opened in August with 72 freshmen.
In awarding the money, Dr. William A. Petit Jr., president of the Petit Family Foundation, said in a prepared statement, “This grant program is exactly how the foundation would like to use our money.”
“This is a small grass-roots program that is aimed at young women and men in high school and provides them with help and direction in learning about and participating in STEM-type programs and activities,” Petit continued.
Educators applauded the foundations’s work and said the money is crucial to keeping the program alive.
“These are both cutting-edge programs,” said high school Principal Michael Foran. “We are very reliant on the generosity of outside funding sources to maintain the programs at the high quality they are currently running at.”
School board member Paul Carver said the grant award is bittersweet.
“It comes with a little bit of sadness and remorse on how we got here,” Carver said, adding, “But I think it’s a great thing in keeping the memory of his family alive in such a positive way.”
Petit’s wife and two daughters were killed when two men, both now on death row, broke into their home in 2007. Petit was injured in the attack.