ST. ALBANS – Leading with heaps of praise and a few admittedly poor jokes, co-chair of the STEM Challenge Initiative (SCI) and St. Albans City Mayor Tim Smith welcomed students and teachers from across Franklin and Grand Isle Counties Thursday night to the third annual STEM Recognition Night.

STEM refers to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, fields identified as important drivers for competitiveness in technological and scientific development. The SCI is an organization that evolved to promote these fields in Franklin and Grand Isle County schools through grants, educational organizations and other forms of support.

Though proctored by the mayor, the spotlights in the St. Albans Museum’s Bliss Room were focused on the teachers and students who were able to engage more directly with different fields of math, science and technology thanks to the SCI’s grants. Teachers were recognized for their projects that brought sciences into the classroom, and students showed off some of their projects made possible by that education.

“We were able to pull together $14,500,” Smith said, referring to the grant fund SCI had collected for the Challenge Grant. “That doesn’t sound like a whole lot, but it’s a lot.”

The first awardee of an SCI grant to present was BFA-Fairfax’s Sandy Brown, who talked about the LEGO robotics sets that an SCI grant afforded the school. Through these sets, she showed, Fairfax elementary school students acquired what could have been their first hands-on experiences with programming and robotics.

“That grant was a heck of a lot for us, and allowed us to do something we would never have been able to do,” Brown said before introducing three of her students and their LEGO Mindstorm robots. The three elementary school students demonstrated their robots, programming them from across a table with small tablets while the LEGO robots spun and whirled on the table.


To read more about the STEM Recognition Night pick up a copy of Friday’s Messenger.