Science, technology, engineering and maths are where more and more jobs will be in the future, and they're what Cootamundra's young people will be better able to study with the construction of new science labs at Cootamundra High School.
That was the message from NSW education and early childhood minister Sarah Mitchell, who yesterday opened the new labs at a ceremony at the school.
The ceremony began with a welcome to country by Wiradjuri man and former school captain, Peter Beath.
The new $630,000 labs are a far cry from the school's old labs which everybody, including school principal Leesa Daly and head science teacher Alasdair Sides, said had been well beyond their use-by date.
The new labs have three fume cupboards for preparation of chemicals which vent to outside, compared with only one with limited ventilation in the old labs - and all the water and gas taps work reliably, by contrast with the old taps which frequently malfunctioned.
The principal thanked NSW MP for Cootamundra, Steph Cooke, for her strong support of the school generally, and for its request for funding to build the new state-of-the-art labs in particular.
Ms Cooke said she was he was "blown away" by what a fantastic learning environment the labs were.
"I'm excited for the students and staff, knowing the school has the facilities to encourage not only the next generation of scientists, but also critical thinkers, analytical minds and collaborative individuals," she said.
Minister Mitchell, promoted to the ministry only after the recent elections, said the science labs were the first new installation she had opened as minister, and she was delighted that the labs were such an impressive facility.
"The approach of integrating science, technology, engineering and mathematics develops skills in problem solving, critical reflection, analysis and communication," she said.
"These important stills will develop beautifully in these labs, which are designed to enable teachers and students to bring out the very best of themselves."