Five Years of Organizing STEM Experiences for Teens
“NASA didn’t mean much to me before today, but now it seems real. It is a real part of our history, and maybe even our futures.”
In February, 150 Wellington High School students embarked on a day of intensive hands-on STEM education at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. They learned the history of America’s space program, toured the Space Shuttle Atlantis, experienced a zero-gravity simulator, and took part in a simulated shuttle launch. Students rotated through math and engineering seminars that tested their own astronaut-abilities. A motivational speech from NASA astronaut John O. Creighton capped the day.
“NASA didn’t mean much to me before today, but now it seems real. It is a real part of our history, and maybe even our futures,” said David, a Wellington High School student on the trip. “There are a lot of stories here that I want to hear.”
“These inspirational students are the generation that will go to Mars.”
Through a program launched by Attention Span for the Jacobs Family Foundation of Wellington, more than 1,000 Wellington students have been able to participate in the STEM education day at Kennedy Space Center. These students are enrolled in the schools’ most challenging STEM courses, including AP chemistry, physics, calculus, and engineering. This trip allows them to experience first hand where a career in science, technology, engineering or math could lead them.
“It is remarkable to see the students’ excitement and hear how this trip enriches their overall educational experience,” said Lou Jacobs, a member of the Jacobs Family Foundation Board of Directors. “These inspirational students are the generation that will go to Mars.”
“It is such an inspiring day. It helps the kids realize that any one of them could do this, if they try hard enough.”
The program is unique in that it one of the finest examples of a family donating a significant amount of time, money and resources to public schools in their communities. In just the past two years, the Jacobs Family have donated more than $500,000 to Wellington enrichment programs, mostly supporting education and student athletics.
“Some of these students haven’t even been out of Palm Beach County before, so this trip is incredible for them,” said Wellington High School teacher, Suzi Grbinich. “It is such an inspiring day. It helps the kids realize that any one of them could do this, if they try hard enough.”