When 17-year-old Paisley Martin discovered her knack for mathematics a few years ago, she says it was an aha moment that piqued her interest in becoming a future biomedical engineer. The Akron native, now a rising senior at Stanford Online High School, wants to help Summit Academy Akron Elementary School students tap their potential passion for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), just as she did. True to her mission, Martin, who now lives in Florida, donated dozens of science kits and educational materials to the school last week.
Martin launched a social media campaign through which she raised $700 to purchase the STEM-focused kits and materials. The educational items will engage students in activities ranging from engineering toy cars to breaking geodes to creating mini erupting geysers.
“I wanted kids to think about their futures and STEM careers; to have an opportunity to be exposed to science and math and discover there is a fun component to them,” Martin says.
Principal Dawn Presley and Summit Academy Management CEO John Guyer were delighted to meet the young philanthropist as she and her mother delivered the bounty of educational supplies to the school on July 29.
Presley emphasized the value hands-on educational items offer to students with special education needs. She points out that about 70 percent to 75 percent of Summit Academy’s student body receives special education instruction, which is enhanced through experiential learning.
“These items bring a whole different and exciting dimension to teaching and learning, much different than that delivered from textbooks,” Guyer notes. “We expect that these valuable STEM teaching tools will serve our students quite well.”
Presley adds that Summit Academy Akron Elementary School embraces STEM education. In keeping with the curriculum, she says the school will start a coding club this year.
“STEM curriculum has always been a critical component of teaching and learning, though many students and adults are intimated by it,” Presley says. “Teaching tools such as those donated by Paisley help take the fear factor out of STEM education. We look forward to introducing them to our students this year.”
Summit Academy Akron Elementary School educates students in grades K-5 who learn differently, such as those with autism and ADHD. The school’s team of compassionate instructors and specialists has been carefully crafted in order to give students the best education possible. With two teachers in each classroom, Summit Academy students are engaged where they are developmentally. Summit Academy’s therapeutic approach serves children’s social, emotional, and academic needs so they can reach their full potential.
A tuition-free, non-profit community school, Summit Academy Akron Elementary School is located at 2503 Leland Ave. in Akron. For more information, call 330-253-7441.