HARLINGEN — Nehemiah Huerta looked closely at the orange pieces of paper, his hands shifting them around, seeking the square that lay within.
“Miss, is this a square?” Nehemiah, 11, asked the teacher, Brittney Mata.
She smiled and commended him for working so hard, but the pieces didn’t quite fit together as a perfect square.
Nehemiah was in the Logic Puzzles session yesterday at the STEM Squared Camp.
About 100 of the students enrolled in the new STEM Squared Preparatory Academy attended the camp as a sort of orientation for the new school year. A total of 147 are enrolled for the first school year.
“We are doing a lot of team building,” said Jennifer Leal, one of the instructors at the new school.
“We’re giving students the opportunity to meet each other,” she added. “They come from all the different elementary schools and five middle schools. This is a big change for a lot of the kids.”
The children began the day coloring in the shape of a cog on a piece of paper, a cog with a purpose in mind.
“They are all cogs in the same machine,” Leal explained.
Maya Monreal was also puzzling over the orange pieces, but she and Nehemiah had already been in Jeffery Hendrix’s Digital Extravaganza Innovation Center, another session.
“We are learning about different kinds of technology,” said Maya, 11. “We’re learning how technology can help us. A lot of the stuff we are learning right now we’re going to use later in the year.”
“We’re going to try to make a robot to help us in the garden,” she said.
Nehemiah was equally excited about Hendrix’s session.
“He put jumper cables together,” Nehemiah said, using his hands to demonstrate.
“There’s also a drone and a 3D printer,” he said. “We’re making something right now, a vase.”
He, like the other children — and teachers –— showed excitement about attending the new school.
“I have been hearing about the awesome things that are going to be here and what we’re going to do with technology,” he said.
Maya indicated the school would be a fine start toward the medical field.
“I wanted the better opportunities here that you can’t get in other middle schools,” she said. “They have a lot of technology here they use in the medical field.”
Administrators, teachers and students all appeared anxious to embark on this new adventure at a brand new academy in the district.