Pontotoc County School District Receives Over $40,000 from Ashley Furniture to Support Robotics Education



ECRU, Miss. – Ashley Furniture Industries, Inc. (Ashley) has partnered with the Pontotoc County School District to enhance the district’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) program. Ashley is the largest manufacturer of home furnishings in the world with advanced manufacturing facilities located near the school district.

With a contribution of more than $40,000 from Ashley, the district was able to purchase VEX Robotics equipment for students, further expanding into grades 6-12 that will vertically align its robotics curriculum. The equipment will also allow the school district to provide objective-based learning, further connect with Career & Technical Education (CTE) and explore externship opportunities that provide problems that require a solution.

VEX Robotics is a leading provider of educational and competitive robotics products to schools around the world. “Our students will benefit greatly from this donation of VEX Robotics Kits from Ashley Furniture, said Amanda Wood, Engineering Instructor within Pontotoc County School District. “When students are introduced to robotics at an early age, it heightens their interest in STEM related careers which can close gender and socioeconomic gaps in these fields. Robotics promotes 21st century skills such as communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking which will ensure our students' success inside and outside of the classroom.”

“This program is a great way for young students to learn career-readiness skills,” said Ron Wanek, Founder and Chairman, Ashley Furniture Industries, Inc. “We continue to support STEM education to inspire the next generation of skilled workers and help secure our country’s position as a world-leader in technology and advanced manufacturing.”

The equipment allows students to easily build their first robot and with endless possibilities of customization, the platform encourages students to build a robot that is bigger, stronger, and more functional as they continue to learn. VEX also provides curriculum options for educators to integrate lesson plans into the classroom and easily customize projects to meet the level of students' abilities. VEX Robotics equipment can also be utilized for extracurricular competition programs where students are tasked with designing and building a robot to play with other teams in a game-based engineering challenge.

Pictured in photo "PontotocCountySchoolDistrict" (L to R): Patricia Ellison (Director at Pontotoc Ridge Career and Technology Center), Danny Robbins (Board Member of Pontotoc County School District), Amanda Wood (Engineering Instructor at Pontotoc Ridge Career and Technology Center), Randy Tutor (Board Member of Pontotoc County School District), Dr. Brock Puckett (Superintendent of Pontotoc County School District), Earnie Gates (Ashley Furniture Industries), Lance Little (Ashley Furniture Industries) and Mike Hall (Ashley Furniture Industries).


Ashley Furniture Industries, Inc. (Ashley) feels that every person deserves more value for their money. Established in 1945, Ashley is one of the largest manufacturers of home furnishings in the world and has been named one of America’s Best Employers by Forbes. From design through fulfillment, Ashley is committed to delivering the world’s best home furnishing values, selection and service, and earning the loyalty and trust of its customers every day. Visit Ashley online at and “like” Ashley Furniture Industries, Inc. on Facebook.