STEM program moving forward

Published 5:20 pm Saturday, February 15, 2014

FILE PHOTO | DAILY NEWS TEACHING; Instructor Denny Hawkins explains robotics to STEM students.

TEACHING; Instructor Denny Hawkins explains robotics to STEM students.


Washington Daily News


The Beaufort County Police Activities League continues to forge new partnerships with nonprofit groups that include many schools, businesses and local, state and federal agencies.

“The PAL program is making some historic progress,” said Alvin Powell, president of Beaufort County PAL.

Last August, the group worked with the Boy Scouts of America as more than 25 children from across Beaufort County attended Camp Bodie. From now until March, students are learning about robotics and aviation at the STEM academy being held Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Powell said that although STEM programs cover science, technology, engineering and mathematics, learning these subjects is about more than academics. Hands-on experience and training in these fields are equally as important, he said. The focus is to prepare children for the work force.

“We’re preparing them for careers and hope that when they get to high school, they will have something in mind by ninth and 10th grade,” Powell said.

Aside from students having career-readiness exposure, the focus of the program provides mentorship for children until they graduate high school and fosters positive relationships between children, first-responders and law enforcement.

“Getting kids more acclimated to first-responders and how they’re real-world heroes to them and why it’s important to pass background checks. All they (children) need is some positive influence. I know how law enforcement can influence youth self-respect and self-worth. What we’re trying to tell the kids is that not all law enforcement is bad. We hope to give them the opportunity to work together and allow officers to mentor them,” Powell said.

Beginning next month, students participating in the STEM program will learn about aviation and flight principles. Through a partnership with Dillon’s Aviation and with money provided by PotashCorp-Aurora, students will get to use a flight simulator and pilot remote-controlled aircraft. According to Powell, March 29 will be even more exciting for the children because a hot-air balloon will be displayed at Washington’s Warren Field Airport starting at 7 a.m.

Powell said Saturday trips during March are being planned. Students will travel to military bases and museums to further their knowledge of aircraft and flight principles.

The STEM program is held Tuesdays and Thursdays each week from 3:30 p.m. 5:30 p.m. at the Beaufort County Boys & Girls Club, 1089 N. Bridge St., Washington. There is no cost to attend the program or participate in the scheduled field trips.

“Our goal is to reach all kids regardless of race, sex or financial status. We’re not standing still; we’re breaking new ground,” Powell said.

To find out more about the STEM program, visit or call 252-923-9482.