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SECME – Mrs. Fass


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On Saturday April 10, 2010, over 275 students from Palm Beach County secondary schools participated in the Secondary SECME (Science, Engineering, Communication, Mathematic, Enrichment) Olympiad hosted by Santaluces High School.  Students participated in a variety of competitions which included banners, brain bowl, bridges, essays, mousetrap cars, posters and water rockets. 

Congratulatons to Ms. Fass and the students on Omni’s SECME team:  Alyssa T., Collin K., Mackenzie D., Rafaela F., Raphaella D., Tara L., Savannah L., and Trent D..

  • 1st place – Brain Bowl
  • 1st place – Essay on STEM education
  • 2nd place – Overall for Palm Beach County Middle Schools

Raphaella D. (8th grade) won the Essay contest and has qualified to compete in the SECME National Student Competition at Clemson University this summer.  We wish her the best.  Congratulations!

Igniting Minds through STEM Education
by Raphaella D.

As the brilliant philosopher Seneca once said, “Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity.”  When the prospect of education is invested in, the student being educated is not the only person who benefits; all future generations benefit in the long run.  The opportunity is the ability to have a better future for society through educating coming generation’s youth.  In my opinion, no other educational program does what STEM education does.  Minds are igniting through STEM education, and that is an endowment to today’s society that cannot be compared to. 

What does igniting minds through STEM education do?  It doesn’t just prepare students with an educational foundation unlike any other.  It doesn’t just motivate and compel students to work toward their goals and aspirations.  And it doesn’t just inspire students to dream for what seems to be the impossible and achieve it.  Igniting minds through STEM education unites students’ inspiration and hard work into one unparalleled program, paving the road for every student involved to have the opportunity to change the world by turning their dreams into reality. 
The igniting process begins with academics.  Science, technology, engineering and mathematics are the core focus areas in STEM education; all four a critical part in a preparatory basis for further academic achievement.  Science allows minds to wander while exploring possibilities, testing hypothesizes and experimenting ideas.  Technology provides the support and mechanics needed to execute visions.  Engineering realizes projects that sprouted from a thought, grew with a plan and have become so immense that they need more than just a pen and paper to bring to life.  Mathematics ties together science, technology and engineering with precision; eliminating errors. 

STEM education integrates all four concepts together, transmitting them to students through the most experienced and enthusiastic educators.  Although they are quite challenging areas of education, with a unique combination of passion and adroitness, teachers effortlessly convey their expertise and devotion to their students.   The STEM education academic program offers rigorous curriculums that prepare students for the challenge of attending the top colleges and universities in the world while enriching, inspiring and motivating students’ lives every step of the way.      

When educating a child, there needs to be more than just a dull black and white print textbook placed in front of them.  There needs to be various diverse learning methods that will draw students into learning.  There needs to be nonstop support and encouragement.  There needs to be more than just the basics.  If there is no motivation, inspiration and enrichment involved in the learning process, disinterest will override a child’s want to learn.  Especially in STEM education – g rasping concepts at such a complex level is extremely difficult.  Education needs to be made enjoyable, instigating and beneficial in order for students to remain interested and dedicated to it. 

In today’s day and age, schooling has to reach for more than just instructing; it needs to motivate students to voluntarily do more than they are required to do, it needs to inspire students to want to change their community, environment and even the world because of their education, and it needs to provide the necessary enrichment to allow students to originate dreams and goals and accomplish them.  Incorporating the notions of motivating, inspiring and enriching, STEM education does just that, igniting minds that are creating future world leaders who will help redefine the world in innumerable ways.

   Most education programs barely prepare students to meet required national test standards, but not STEM education.  It is not just a curriculum.  It is not just a pathway to success.  It is not just a grand opportunity.  STEM education is much more than that; it is an ambiance of knowledge, creativity and support conjoined, bringing forth a generation of well educated beings with ignited minds ready to lead and revolutionize the world with their dreams and ideas.   I had aspired to be one of these instigated minds.  I had hopes that next year I would be a part of the STEM program and do much more than just learn.  And that expectantly, my mind would be ignited and I would be inspired to achieve something spectacular.  But unfortunately, I was not accepted into the STEM program, and will miss out on the wonderful experience of having my mind ignited by such and well-rounded environment.  I will be attending a regular high school without any unique magnet programs, but that doesn’t mean that I will not achieve that something spectacular.  Just because things didn’t go as planned and there is now yet another obstacle in this road I like to call life, I have not lost hope in my dreams.  I still have the ambition to achieve something spectacular.  I still have the ambition to be the best I can be.  And I still have, and always will have the ambition to change the world with the visions and ideas from my soon to be ignited mind – no matter what hardships I must face and overcome.  And if all goes well, with hard work, dedication, and help from a great environment, I will achieve it.        

In the words of John W. Gardner, “Much education today is monumentally ineffective. All too often we are giving young people cut flowers when we should be teaching them to grow their own plants.”  STEM education is effective because it does not ignite minds by cutting flowers.  It ignites minds by teaching students how to grow their own plants and put their own unique personal touch on them.  It may be timely and at times costly, but in the end, the plants don’t grow; they thrive.


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