Two soon-to-be fourth graders are embarking on a unique journey to New York City for the National Youth Leadership Forum “Pathways to Science Technology Engineering Mathematics (STEM) leadership program” at St. John’s University.
After departing on July 25 for pickup on July 30, Elise Jenkins and Wyatt Nestle were nominated by third grade teacher Kim Bean to dive into the multiple avenues of the STEM field and learn first-hand from college professors and trained employees what they are passionate about.
“The students will be a huge asset to the program,” Bean said. “In regards to communication and collaboration, these students are leaders who always demonstrate a positive attitude. Their cooperation and kindness are evident on a daily basis as well. They also use their critical thinking skills to excel in the classroom. “Both students enjoy topics of technology, robots, and detective work. They will be able to bring back many skills from the program to our school district, which can then be shared with their peers and teachers.”
Jenkins said she enjoys music and math while Nestle said he loves science. They look forward to making dinosaur and unicorn robots, investigating “CSI” crime scenes and learning how to apply a splint and tourniquet along with basic first aid.
Mary J. Tanner School principal Paul Morcone explained the nomination process, and how the funding comes from the respective families.
“The NYLF “Pathways to STEM leadership program” sends out general nomination forms to teachers. The educator then has the option to choose and make a nomination for the program based on student demographics and personal characteristics that align to the mission of
the program. After submission, information is then sent to each student and their family that was nominated. From there the family can choose to send the student to the program. The NYLF Pathways to STEM leadership program works independently from the school district,” Morcone said.
The cost of the six-day residential workshop is $2,595.
Both mothers, Emily Jenkins and Sarah Daigle, are excited for their children to make new friends across the country and develop new skills and techniques.
“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Emily Jenkins said. “It’s for nine and 10 year olds, and there’s a lot of leadership seminars. I think they’re going to benefit from it.”
Daigle is excited for her son to experience his first journey into the real world without his family.
“This is the first time he’s going to have to develop those skills, those social-emotional skills when he’s gone along with the academics as well,” she said.
Nestle has dreams of being either a paleontologist or an author/illustrator while Jenkins wants to become a dental hygienist.
Morcone is excited to see what skills and techniques Nestle and Jenkins bring back from the city.
“The purpose is to teach students to think critically to evaluate a situation and then manipulate a specific set of phenomena to construct explanations and solutions utilizing science,
technology, engineering and mathematics. We are literally preparing students for jobs that do not exist yet in our society,” Morcone said. “The district has various opportunities for students to use these skills as we prepare students at all levels by educating them with the Next Generation Learning Standards.”