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HCPSS and Bright Minds Announce $150,000 Donation Supporting Virtual and Augmented Reality Instruction

October 30th, 2017

Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) high school students will now benefit from the latest in virtual reality and augmented reality instruction thanks to a $150,000 donation from Oculus VR co-founder and Atholton High School alumnus Brendan Iribe. The funds, facilitated through the Bright Minds Foundation, will provide virtual and augmented reality learning opportunities for the Architectural Design and Visual Arts Academies at the HCPSS Applications and Research Laboratory (ARL).

“I’m excited that our students will be among the first to experiment with virtual reality technology,” said HCPSS Interim Superintendent Dr. Michael J. Martirano. “Thank you to Brendan Iribe for his commitment to Howard County schools and for supporting our mission to provide every student with opportunities to achieve academic success.”

Career Academy students can use the virtual and augmented reality technology to develop architectural simulations, video productions, and 3-D graphics and animation.

“Students will develop an in-depth understanding of emerging markets, making it easier for them to participate in internships and enhancing their transition to the world of work or the next steps in their education journey,” said Sharon Kramer, HCPSS coordinator of Career and Technology Education.

“We’re thrilled we could help facilitate the generous donation from Mr. Iribe, which supports Bright Minds Foundation’s mission to provide access to innovative educational opportunities for all Howard County students,” said Patricia Sasse, executive director of the Bright Minds Foundation.

Bright Minds and HCPSS will host an event in November to celebrate the donation and recognize Iribe.

Career Academies offer in-depth courses, research projects and internship opportunities related to students’ career goals, and the opportunity to earn college credit or industry certification while in high school. Students from all 12 HCPSS high schools and the Homewood Center may enroll in Career Academy programs at ARL.

The Bright Minds Foundation supports education, aspirations and the opportunity to succeed for all students in Howard County public schools. Bright Minds provides students with equity, equality and access to educational offerings, educational innovation and lifelong skills.

For more information, contact Bright Minds Foundation Executive Director Patricia Sasse at or 410-740-0707.