Honor students plan D.C. trip
Community expertise sought for Chester Elementary's STEAM program


National Honor Society students Michael Moore and Jolena Podolsky with Cathy Nelting, National Honor Society advisor, and Principal Denis Petrilak (Photo by Frances Ruth Harris)

By Frances Ruth Harris
CHESTER — The trip that Michael Moore, Jolena Podolsky, and other members of the National Honor Society will take to Washington, D.C., next year was discussed at the Nov. 12 school board meeting in Chester.The students will be chaperoned by Cathy Nelting, honor society advisor, and Denis Petrilak, Chester Academy principal, from Jan. 28 to 31.The honor society's Leadership Conference begins on Friday, Jan. 29, at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City and includes sightseeing at the White House, the Library of Congress, the Capitol, and the Smithsonian.On Jan. 30, students will attend a general session leading to workshops, seminars, and an idea exchange with dinner and more sightseeing.The closing session on Jan. 31 includes breakfast and a general session. The bus leaves Union Station at 12:30 p.m. and arrives back at the Chester Academy at 7 p.m.Of 24 honor society members, 15 showed a strong interest in the trip. The approximate cost is $400 per student, which may be defrayed by fundraising. The final payment is due on Jan. 16.Learning gathers STEAMWhen preparing students for the new world of science and technology, you have to start young.Cathy O'Hara, coordinator of Chester's STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) program, said the target K-12 initiative begins in the elementary school.O'Hara trained at the Boston Museum of Science and brings the museum's hands-on program, Engineering in Elementary, to students in Chester. The students also participate in an after-school coding club, where they learn computer programming. LEGO robotics is another popular program.Anyone in the community who wants to share their STEAM career experience with students are encouraged to email O'Hara at cohara@chesterufsd.org.