Four students from Frazier High School showcased to a national audience the importance of STEM education and the school district’s work within Project Lead the Way.
The district was one of few invited to present at a national summit hosted by nonprofit STEM curricula developer Project Lead the Way (PLTW) to tell its story of implementing and growing PLTW programming to provide students with additional career pathways.
The summit, held in Indianapolis in February and sponsored by Chevron, was one of four summits held this school year by PLTW in cities around the country. PLTW Summit is a gathering of individuals dedicated to preparing students with the in-demand and transportable skills. Guests include pre-K-12 educators, students, university leaders and business and industry leaders.
The student presenters at the conference included juniors Cole Davies and Kenadi Erdely of Fayette City, Kean Kearney of Perryopolis and Isabella Kudyba of Grindstone, who spoke to an audience of approximately 1,000 STEM educators about how their experiences taking PLTW courses have impacted them now and for their future careers.
“We talked about our stories and how the classes affected us. We were hoping to inspire them that they’re actually helping their students with what they’re doing,” said Erdely.
Each student presenter embodied a component of STEM, which is short for science, technology, engineering and math.
“I have never in 20 years of education seen four students step up the way they did and represent a school district like they did,” said Frazier High School Principal Jason Pappas, who attended the summit with Frazier PLTW engineering teachers Mike Steeber and Mike Smith.
The students presented at the opening session of the third and final day of the conference.
Sally Irwin, PLTW director of school engagement for Pennsylvania, said Frazier was selected to present at the summit as a representation of a small school district that has exceptionally implemented PLTW programs with grant assistance from Chevron.
“The student speakers are always the highlight of the summit because it just reinforces that — whether you’re a classroom teacher, an administrator, if you work for PLTW, if you work for a STEM vendor — this is why we do what we do, to see these kids shine. It just makes you feel like you’re making an impact,” said Irwin.
Frazier School District has participated in PLTW for six year and offers courses at all three of its schools, including six at the high school, three at the middle school and a module at the elementary level.
Pappas commended the students and teachers of Frazier for pushing the boundaries of STEM education.
“I think the students we have at Frazier are really top-notch students that want to excel. Career-wise, they look forward to goals that will better themselves and the community. We have teachers that are willing to remain lifelong learners and implement new strategies and new challenges in the classroom,” he said.
PLTW provides hands-on learning experiences for pre-K-12 students and teachers in 11,500 schools across the country.