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BISD STEM Center Grand Opening a Success

Beaumont ISD unveiled its new STEM Center with a grand opening celebration on January 25. The event featured student representatives from tech/coding clubs at Caldwood Elementary, Central High School, Charlton-Pollard Elementary, Curtis Elementary, Marshall Middle School and Odom Academy. They entertained attendees with the wonders of the STEM Center by working with Ozobots robots, EV3 robots, CoDrone Lite coding drones, micro:bits, 3D printing and using a large interactive touchscreen with a variety of activities.  

“The STEM Center will be a place for BISD students to collaborate, communicate, create and code,” said BISD Lead STEM teacher Joy Schwartz. “It’s a place where students can wonder, experiment and learn in the realm of STEM … all things science, technology, engineering and mathematics.”  

Students will be able to work with CAD and 3D printing, learn to program multiple types of robots, participate in robotics competitions, learn to code and fly drones and learn how to use a wide variety of other technology tools. In addition, there will be forensic science investigations and non-technology STEM activities. Not only will these activities assist students in developing and strengthening their communication skills, but their collaboration skills as well.   

“I think our STEM Center will be unique in the number of different activities that will be available under one roof. We will offer a wide range of activities for all ages; prekindergarten through 12th grade will be serviced here,” said Schwartz. “We will also have an indoor drone field and offer Youth Code Jams and STEM Camps. While we are calling it the STEM Center, we will not leave out the arts. We will work on murals and music activities paired with technology.”   

Central High School senior Hien Huynh loved being a part of the grand opening celebration. “The STEM Center will help influence students to be interactive with machines. It’s a great opportunity for kids to explore and find new interests.” Huynh will be studying mechanical engineering at Lamar University after graduation.

BISD Board of Manager Vernice Monroe attended the event. “I think the STEM Center is wonderful and so innovative,” she said. “I’m excited to see our investment in science, technology, engineering and mathematics get bigger and better with summer STEM camps and robotics competitions.”

Schwartz is in the process of encouraging each campus to begin a robotics and/or coding club or team. Students that attended the grand opening are a sampling from campuses across the District who have accepted and embraced that challenge.   

“My goals for the STEM Center include being a bridge for our students with the professional community of Beaumont and the higher educational institutions in our community. Another goal is to provide as many opportunities as possible for our students to wonder and create and experiment with science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Perhaps they will find a skill they didn’t know they had or find a career path they didn’t know existed,” said Schwartz. “Through all of these activities, I hope students’ math and science skills will be strengthened. I hope they instill a love and excitement for learning in general; after all, we are preparing our next generation for success!”

BISD business partners that contributed refreshments at the event include Chick-fil-A, Gateway Mortgage Group, Gofer Delivery Services, H-E-B, Manning's Office Solutions, Southern Creole Foods, Sub Zero Ice Cream and Team Scarlett Brekel RE/MAX One. “The STEM Center is a very important development for our community. We need to continually invest in our local economy and industry,” said Gateway Mortgage Group Business Development Manager Michael Perez. “We should not forget to invest in our future workforce, especially in fields of science.”

Ken Zenon and Jeremy Williams with Gofer Delivery Services were thrilled to be able to give back to BISD. “Ms. Schwartz was our Algebra teacher at Odom Academy and our Calculus teacher at Ozen High School,” said Zenon. “She was a huge inspiration to us and stressed that we could have balance in being great athletes and great students.” Zenon and Williams went on to major in engineering at Prairie View A&M University.

Students had a chance to win great door prizes like Texas Instruments calculators, Robotics Kits and gift cards from EducationFirst Federal Credit Union, Gateway Mortgage Group, Julie Rogers Gift of Life Program, Gofer Delivery Services, Manning’s Office Solutions and Team Scarlett Brekel RE/MAX One. Other business partners supporting the event included ExxonMobil, 100 Black Men of Greater Beaumont, Southeast Texas Food Bank and Odysseyware.  

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