It’s hard to quantify the emotions felt when you witness the team you’ve mentored for 4 months see their hard work pay off. Every step of the way they impressed me, all the way until the end. 48 hours prior to this moment they were stumbling through their presentation, feeling a bit burned out by the whole process, and ready for the culmination of this event. When they walked into the showcase they saw the magnitude of what a STEM competition can be and feel like. The nerves set in. The realization of perhaps missed opportunities to practice more or refine their presentation were recognized. Normally this could freeze a team. It would have froze me. Not these kids, not this team. They rallied to the call.
Led by Zoe, she huddled her team members. This was an exclusive meeting where words of encouragement were expressed. Dry runs of the presentation took place with the new knowledge that not only bragging rights were on the line, but $500 first place take home award also a carrot. I’ve never been so impressed or amazed at what transpired. They went from shy, non communicative students, to enthusiastic entrepreneurs selling their product and idea to anyone who was in earshot. Grabbing hold of passerby’s convincing them to come look at their table their team spirit came through in pure joy of what they were doing. The mentors more nervous than the team at times had to let go and prepare an emotional, “you did your best speech” if they didn’t place, knowing full well they deserved to with the amount of work they put in, which I’m sure was felt by every coach in the room.
They did everything in their power. Crushed their presentation. Showed up almost every Friday (on their own time) for multiple hours to work on this project for 4 months, and conquered fears of public speaking. It was up to the judges and their ability to see this work within the few hours at the showcase. Below is a video of what transpired at the end. ThanksIdaho STEM Action Center for this opportunity. Thanks to Digital Harbor Foundation for the training to pass on to our students. Thanks to our AmeriCorps VISTA team by Maker Education Initiative to help mentor this amazing group of kids. Thanks to the parents carting their kids around to each and every class we had.
Check out the highlights and winning video moment below: