WARSAW — Students at Washington STEM Academy have been recognized in recent years for their robotics savvy and Tuesday night, March 12 was no exception. However, there appears to be more to a STEM education than just maneuvering LEGOs with remote controls.
While the academy was once again the beneficiary of a grant from a local business to continue funding of the school’s robotics efforts, the facility is also being recognized for a more nature-oriented curriculum as well.
During one school spotlight at the most recent work session of the Warsaw Community Schools board of trustees March 12, Washington STEM Academy received a $2,500 grant from VIA Credit Union to fund the school’s junior robotics program; but also received recognition from both the Indiana Wildlife Federation and the National Wildlife Federation as a Certified Wildlife Habitat.
Washington Principal Tom Ray told the board that VIA Credit Union was helping to fund the robotics efforts for its beginner program.
“They are sponsoring the Junior Robotics League at Washington (STEM Academy), so we just want to recognize them and say thank you,” Ray said.
Michelle Peterson, representing VIA Credit Union, told the board that the relationship between her company and the school is more than a year old.
“We were able to make the connection with Mr. Ray and Mr. (David) Burden and were able to help the juniors last year and were able to help again this year, so it’s been a great way for us to get to know the school and the community. We’re very impressed with everything going on at Washington.”
Ray told the board that the junior robotics students will have a showcase at the school beginning at 5:30 p.m. on March 27.
During the board work session, Ray, along with Washington’s David Burden told the board about subjects being studied at the school that are more outdoorsy.
“We’ve been named as a wildlife habitat,” Ray said.
Burden directed students present to pass out photographs of various nature-related projects to board members.
“Everything you see is part of the curriculum at Washington when we think beyond just a lakes and streams study, but also about conservation efforts,” Burden said. “So, starting even in kindergarten, the students learn about just what goes into the ground and how plants grow and what they do for our environment.”
Burden told the board that the nature studies is a 180-day curriculum. “It’s been a very big part of our school for a number of years, but we’re receiving recognition as a wildlife habitat as well,” Burden said.