KSDA Trains Thinkers, Leaders
Adventist founder and inspiration Ellen G. White counseled, “Train the youth to be thinkers, and not mere reflectors of other men’s thoughts” (Education, p. 17.2). This is a primary goal at Kirkland Seventh-day Adventist School (KSDA) and has manifested itself in a special way this year through STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) programming. Throughout the year, KSDA staff hosted STEM events, culminating in STEM Day on April 23. This all-day event was especially unique because this time Dawn Campanello’s eight-grade science students led out.
Working in pairs and manning stations, these eighth-graders led their fellow kindergarten through seventh-grade students in activities including catapults, robots, an egg drop, a zip line, rockets and sandcastles. It was a sun and fun-filled day spent learning new facts and trying novel things. Fourth-grader Liza Roganova “liked the catapults and sandcastles [and had] fun playing with jelly marbles and making sandcastles.”
Eighth-graders who led out experienced their own lightbulb moments. “I have way more respect for teachers now," Bauer Meeks says. "Being a teacher takes hard work.”
Classmate Anela Dixon adds, “Being the teacher for once was actually a great experience. Kids are a joy to be around. Seeing their faces light up when they are having fun because of you really is one of the best feelings.”
KSDA staff were particularly impressed with how these eighth-graders adapted to better lead that day. Third- and fourth-grade teacher Heather Andersen says, “On STEM Day it was fun to see the eighth-graders take on a leadership role. [They] made adjustments and learned how to adapt to make it a fun experience for everyone.”
Interactive programs like STEM showcase learning at its most real and most relevant. KSDA has been blessed to witness their students developing and thinking critically about their world through active engagement.
Special thanks to Dawn Campanello, seventh- and eighth-grade science teacher, for her contribution to this article.