Spring fundraising breakfast highlights value of school district’s STEM focus

Attendees enjoy breakfast as Meadowdale Middle Principal Christine Avery gives a warm welcome.

A group of Edmonds public schools boosters gathered in the newly built Meadowdale Middle School last Friday morning and listened in awe as two Brier Terrace Middle students — Holly Dow and Logan Bronemann — described the complexities of their school wind turbine project, complete with video demonstrations. Shortly after, Mountlake Terrace graduate Tyler Baker — now an engineering student at the University of Washington — explained a 3D prototyping project he completed while in high school, and how well it prepared him for his challenging college coursework.

The presentations were the highlight of the Edmonds Public Schools Foundation fundraising breakfast, this year called “A Recipe for Success” with the featured ingredients of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, otherwise known as STEM.

Mark Madison, program director for Career & Technical Education at the district, noted that a new STEM magnet school will be launched at Mountlake Terrace High School next fall. However, STEM education — from architectural drafting to sports medicine to robotics — is going on at schools throughout the district, as educators recognize the increasing importance of graduating students with STEM-related skills that are highly valued by area employers, Madison said.

“STEM classrooms are expensive classrooms,” Madison added, citing costly equipment such as 3D printers and spectrometers.

For his part, Baker said that his STEM education at Mountlake Terrace High School taught him how to define problems and work in teams, with a good balance between classes and projects. “It’s not what you are thinking, it’s how you are thinking — how you can get to that answer,” he said.

Board president Debbie Bodal
Executive Director Deb Anderson

In addition to raising much-needed money for STEM and other district-wide educational projects that aren’t covered in increasingly slim district budgets, the breakfast also provided an opportunity to introduce the Edmonds Public Schools Foundation’s new executive director, Deb Anderson. And there was also recognition for the Foundation’s outgoing board president, Debbie Bodal.

In addition, the Foundation recognized retiring board members Cheri Portch and Becky Tilbury, with Edmonds Mayor Dave Earling doing the honors. Earling presented the women with plaques and took a moment to read the inscription: “Volunteers are seldom paid, not because they are worthless but because they are priceless.”

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