Children Of Migrant Workers, Education Secretary Highlight STEAM Education
LA PLUME TWP. — One group at a time, students took deep breaths and began to speak about what they learned this week — robotics, 3D printing, global health, astronomy, pottery and bacterial resistance.
However, for the 45 children of migrant workers, the weeklong residential camp at Keystone College was about more than academics.
The students, part of
Pennsylvania’s Migrant Education Program, learn confidence and self-esteem, said Joyce Avila, an adjunct professor at Keystone and director of the camp.
During the presentations Friday, the high school students — who represented 27 countries and 13 languages — had the opportunity to tell the state secretary of education what they had learned.
“We’re here to become leaders and scientists,” said Jairy Gonzalez, a student from Reading.
The state Department of Education funds the program, called “Camp Connect: 212°F = STEAM.” STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, art and math. Middle school students attended a similar camp last week. Students who attended the camp in prior years come back to act as counselors and translators. The state has offered a summer camp for children of migrant workers for about 15 years, and for the last three years, Keystone hosted it.
State Education Secretary Pedro A. Rivera used the opportunity to promote Gov. Tom Wolf’s commitment to preparing students for 21st century jobs. This summer, Wolf administration officials visited camps, libraries and colleges across the state to highlight the importance of STEM and computer science education and summer learning.
After group presentations, students said not only did they meet new friends from across the state, they learned about other countries, cultures and religions. Many students said they would have been too nervous to speak in front of a group before this week.
Students also asked for photos with Rivera, whose mother moved to Philadelphia from Puerto Rico.
“You all have inspired me, not only in your presentations, but in your stories,” he said.
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