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Chappaqua PTA Holds Inaugural STEM Fest

From left, Horace Greeley High School students Mingjun Xiao, Eric Wang, Hanzhi Zou and Mark Wang. The students were involved in creating a simulated city that incorporates programming and engineering skills. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
The city project from a Greeley class. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
Attendees at the first-annual Chappaqua STEM Fest, held at Robert E. Bell Middle School. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
Bonnie Penn, a mother of twin girls who are third graders at Westorchard Elementary School, is with her daughter, Haley, at an exhibit. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
Bonnie Penn, a mother of twin girls who are third-graders at Westorchard Elementary School, is with her daughter, Carly, at an exhibit. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
Nate Meyer, at fifth-grader at Seven Bridges Middle School, demonstrates his project, which is called "Tubular" and is similar to the musical instrument arrangement for Blue Man Group. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
Some animals were present at the Chappaqua STEM Fest, including a chicken. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
Regeneron's table at the Chappaqua STEM Fest. Twenty-five companies were reported to have been involved with the event. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. -- An array of scientific project displays on Saturday served as a testament to the skills of Chappaqua's students.

The displays were part of the first-annual STEM Fest, an event that was put on by the Chappaqua PTA. The event was held at Robert E. Bell Middle School, with displays taking up both the gym and assembly room. Various scientific topics were covered by the projects, ranging from engineering to 3D printing to the digital advertising technology.

STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering and mathematics, Meyer said.

Andrea Meyer, a mother of two boys in the school district, is chair of the PTA's STEM Committee. She said that more than 200 kids registered to showcase their work and that hundreds more attended. 

"This is the very first Chappaqua STEM Fest. We are blown away by the response that we got,” she said.

Meyer also mentioned that 25 companies participated, adding that they ranged from big companies such as IBM and Google, to local and regional ones. 

Meyer also mentioned that she does corporate communications for IBM and works at its Somers location.

“The school district has been so supportive," Meyer said. "The PTA has been incredibly supportive and parents have really rallied together to get their kids aware of this as an event, get the kids excited and get them involved.”

All six of Chappaqua's schools were represented at the STEM Fest, Meyer said. Addressing the presence of different student age groups being present, Meyer described there being a learning opportunity for them.

Several people present wore shirts sporting orange and blue, which are also the colors of Horace Greeley High School.

Serving as an event speaker was James Wynne, who has lived in the Chappaqua school district for 42 years and is the father of two Greeley graduates.

Wynne has been employed by IBM for 46 years and now works at the Thomas J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights. In an interview, he recalled that he was part of a group that figured out how to apply a type of laser to surgery, work that later included involvement of ophthalmologists. The technology served as a foundation for LASIK surgery, he added.

Wynne notes that learning engineering and science cannot just be done by reading about it.

“You have to learn science and engineering hands on," he said.


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