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Stadium Drive STEM event was big success

June 13, 2018
J.T. Whitehouse , The Town Crier

Stadium Drive Elementary School's first-ever Early Genius K-4 STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) program was a big success and it looks like it may become an annual event.

The event featured area companies who spent the day showcasing the STEM technology that exists in the area. Everything from robotics and electronics, to manufacturing and building trades were represented as well as some college STEM programs.

"[It took] a lot of convincing to get the companies that showed up to volunteer, but I think most will be back," said Ken Timings from KTSDI, an engineering firm in North Lima that services the heavy truck industry. "It was a very positive experience for the company employees involved. We had a lot of volunteer companies in January of 2018, but as 'push came to shove' many were not able to attend. Hopefully this year's volunteers will prompt and peer pressure others to join us."

Timmings said events like these are common in Europe to gain an early interest in STEM. As a member of the Mahoning Valley Manufacturing Coalition (MVMC), Timmings said the opportunity exists in this area and the Stadium Drive event was a perfect showcase.

After the showcase, Timmings said both the business participants and the students got to grade the event. And those grades were very high on both sides.

"Warms my heart to see the visual/facial expressions of all parties both sides of the table during the actual event," Timmings said. "The follow-up and feedback gives us an even better sense of how this event touched so many of the kids, they are nothing but pure honest in their replies. The 'A's' are reflective of all the volunteers and partnerships formed over the over eight months of planning needed to get to junction in the road. It's a beautiful thing and it gives us the added energy needed to propel to the next steps, God willing."

Some of the kindergarteners attending the STEM program had already set their minds to "what they want to be when they grow up." Several wanted to be robotics engineers.

Some event took what they learned home. One parent sent Stadium Drive Principal Michael Zoccali a note that their children came home and wanted to continue to experiment.

The early verdict is the event will return next year. Timings said everything looks favorable and the companies that took part this year are looking forward to returning.

"The schools have asked," Timmings said. "We hope and we'll see what MVMC says."



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