MTHS STEM camp reaches full capacity for third year in a row

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Seventh and eighth graders get some hands-on experience in a science project at last year’s MTHS STEM Camp; this year’s camps, which begin on Wednesday, June 28, are already filled to capacity. (Photo courtesy of the MTHS STEM program)

When the Mountlake Terrace High School STEM Camp for seventh and eighth graders gets underway on Wednesday, June 28, it will do so with its biggest attendance numbers in its history.

Now in its third year, the STEM camp will welcome 180 middle schoolers into a three-day program that will include activities in aeronautics, chemistry, engineering, circuit design and more.

The camp was first held in 2015 with 60 middle school campers, the maximum the program could accommodate. Last year the program grew to 120 campers, but doubling in size still wasn’t enough to accept all who had interest in attending.

“We had planned this as a small fundraiser for our after-school STEM clubs,” said James Wilson, MTHS technology teacher and STEM Camp Director. “We had no idea how much interest there would be in the community.”

“This year, with three teachers accepting 180 students, we were finally able to accept everyone eligible who applied,” Wilson said.

Wilson, along with fellow MTHS educators Brian Smelcer and Mark Burbank, will be assisted by at 16 Terrace High School students who will help guide the campers through the various activities and challenges of the program.

“We aim for a five campers to one high school student ratio,” Wilson explained.

The addition of more camp staff is the only real change for the growing program. “Because we’ve had such success, we’ve chosen to perfect what we are doing rather than reinvent it every year,” Wilson said.

Mountlake Terrace High School is the home of the Edmonds School District’s STEM Magnet Program, a four-year study program that aims to graduate high school students proficient in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines and to prepare them for college level STEM studies.

The MTHS Class of 2017 included 61 students who graduated with STEM Honors Diplomas from the STEM Magnet Program.

–By Doug Petrowski

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