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Inner Banks STEM marks successful dinner/dance

Since its founding, the Inner Banks STEM Center (formerly the Beaufort County Police Activities League) has exposed countless children and youth to everything from boating and aviation to healthy living and good decision making.

Last Saturday, more than 200 people gathered at the Washington Civic Center to celebrate the program’s successes during the annual IBX STEM Dinner/Dance. According to IBX STEM President Al Powell, it was one of the nonprofit’s most successful events to date.

“We were very fortunate to have the kind of support we had,” Powell said. “The thing I think really humbled all of us was the diversity of the audience that attended. You had folks from all different walks of life.”

Featuring an evening of food, dancing and live music, the event also offered an opportunity for the nonprofit’s leaders to speak about new developments at the center, and for former students to share how its programs have impacted their lives.

MAKING A DIFFERENCE: Among the highlights of the evening were speeches from IBX STEM participants and parents on their experiences with the program. Pictured, left to right, are speakers Yasmin Delgado, Mackenzie Chrismon, Jessica Williams, William Mayo, Paula Stephenson and Jordan Davis.

Five former IBX STEM students spoke during the program, including Yasmin Delgado, Mackenzie Chrismon, Jessica Williams, William Mayo and Jordan Davis. IBX STEM parent Paula Stephenson weighed in, sharing how the program improved her son Rocky’s confidence and sparked a renewed interest in science and technology.

“Through this program, I learned about Early College, which is the school I attend now. Ever since I’ve been in the program, it’s exposed me to technology. That inspired me to become an electrical engineer, which is what I’m now pursuing.” — YASMIN DELGADO

“This program has helped me use leadership skills that will be pertinent when I’m in my own classroom teaching. I’ve also been able to network with educators, business owners and representatives from our community. This program has truly helped me feel like I’m part of the community and grow as a teacher.” — JESSICA WILLIAMS

“Joining the STEM program has definitely motivated me over time. I would have never thought I would fly a plane.” — WILLIAM MAYO

“As a parent of a special teen, I’m always looking for innovative ways to stimulate his interest in science and technology. The Inner Banks STEM Center did just that. The camp was an invaluable experience for him in that it sparked that interest, boosted his confidence and was fun and interactive.” — PAULA STEPHENSON

“The stars of the show, of course, were the kids, which is the way it ought to be,” Powell said. “We can say all we want to say about the program, the mission and the goals, but if you don’t have some kids who are the actual benefactors of what we’re trying to do have the opportunity to say what they think of the program, the audience really can’t appreciate what we’re trying to do. That was a highlight for us.”

IBX STEM also celebrated a new component coming to its programs that will partner with Beaufort County Community College, Vidant Beaufort Hospital and the Beaufort County Health Department. In the coming weeks, the nonprofit will begin using newly installed biometric testing equipment to help local parents have a better picture of their children’s health. Five BCCC nursing students and one instructor have been certified to operate the machines.

For more information on the IBX STEM Center, visit www.ibxstem.org.