Regular readers of my blog have often heard me sing the praises of the STEM Center - Cheyenne’s school in the West Fargo School District and the only magnet school in the state. Well, you may not have actually “heard” me – more accurately, you “read” me singing the praises of the amazing work the staff and faculty at STEM do with their students (6th – 8th grade).
Today I would like you to invite you – all of you – to the 3rd Annual STEM Cosmopolitan Soiree being held this upcoming Thursday (May 24th) from 1:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Red River Valley Fairgrounds. It is a family-focused event that is educational and fun – an event where you can learn more about the world from STEM students and other representatives, play games, visit with immersion students from the local schools (representing countries such as Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Iraq, Liberia, Sudan, Somalia, Bhutan, and Nepal), listen to music, eat, and win some very cool door prizes. What a great opportunity to experience the diversity in our world without ever leaving West Fargo.
I have to tell you as a parent of a STEM 7th grader, the students have put a tremendous amount of work into this event. Each team of two selected a country to research and tie their overall assignments to - Cheyenne and her partner Annika, selected France. I have contributed nothing to this project except an enthusiastic oh la la and a quick trip to Menards for rocket supplies (yes, there is also a rocket building component to this assignment- this is serious stuff folks). I don’t ever remember committing the amount of time and energy Cheyenne has put in on this project into anything in 7th grade. The expectation level for the STEM kids is high and as I have witnessed time and time again – they rise to the level of their teachers’ expectation. I have made a mental note of this. Every time I assign something to my students at the university level I think about the STEM Center lesson - the expectation I set determines how much my students will push to achieve.
The students have a big mission for the assignment focused around their STEM learning structure. This assignment showcases the use of STEM education’s role in solving 21st century challenges; and, I dare say, begs the question – why aren’t all kids learning like this? The ability to weave and connect learning through a broad solution-based approach creates the crititical thinkers, strong communicators, effective collaborators, and creative innovators that we need to solve the complex problems we face as a society.
The 38 countries that will be represented at the soiree by the STEM students are:
There are a number of local sponsors of this event - the list grows daily as I understand it. Many people have committed a lot of time and energy to bring this event to life so that those in West Fargo, Fargo, Moorhead, and the surrounding communities can learn more about the culture, beliefs and challenges countries around the world face. There is a nominal fee for wristbands for the games and concessions – but the cost of learning more about the world is merely showing up ready to learn and experience it.
So please do come visit the event on Thursday and meet STEM’s 7th graders and their teachers. I promise you, after meeting the STEM kids you will breathe easier about where we are going in the future as a society – they shine bright and are willing to put in the work to create the change in the world they’d like to see.
I hope to see you there with your friends, family, scout troop, church group, neighbors, etc. Come be cosmopolitan with moi (still working on my French here) and show the STEM kids something that they can only learn from you – members of the community – that their commitment to making the world’s identity and challenges better understood and more accessible from their home-base in West Fargo is appreciated and applauded. Or as I will say it on Thursday with a bit more practice – bon emploi!
3rd Annual STEM Soiree
Thursday, May 24 – 1:30-6:30 PM
Red River Valley Fairgrounds (Hartle Ag Building)
Day one thousand and forty-eight of the new forty – obla di obla da