A drum roll and shout from Principal April Jones to, "Let the games begin!" kicked off Woodlawn Middle School's first STEM Olympics sponsored by Lockheed Martin. More than 100 students and parents raced through hallways to complete challenges involving science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
"We wanted an event that would engage our student population and get them excited and motivated about exploring STEM," explained Jones. "It obviously worked, because students and parents are already asking about the next competition."
Fifteen student teams moved quickly to complete challenges involving water filtration, a laser maze, plants, harnessing the wind, velocity, and bridge building. The first three teams to complete the challenges and make it back to the school gym were the winners. Civil President for Lockheed Martin, Stephanie C. Hill, Senator Delores Kelley and Assistant Superintendent John Mayo presented awards to the winning teams.
"I hope that you hold on to the excitement and energy of this evening and the 'cool' factor of the science challenges," said Hill in her remarks to the students. "Because if you do, there are so many exciting and rewarding career opportunities in the science and technology fields. The possibilities are endless, and you can literally help change the world!"
Student participants each received a certificate and the opportunity to attend a field trip to the National Air and Space Museum, Udvar-Hazy Center. Winning teams also received ribbons and tickets for a simulator ride at the museum. Following the presentations, students and family members enjoyed a pizza dinner.
Lockheed Martin volunteers work regularly with the school to promote STEM initiatives to the student population. Events have included field trips to science museums, mentoring sessions, career counseling, and supporting teachers in their classrooms.