Thank you from all of us at Saturday Academy for staying with us during these unprecedented times. It has been a challenging year on every level – I hope that you and your loved ones are safe and healthy.
Our entire world has been fundamentally changed by COVID-19. The value of STEM education has never been clearer as we globally address the scientific, medical, economic, and social impacts of the pandemic. Saturday Academy has risen to the challenge of distance learning and continues to support our students through highly engaging classes and internships in an online format. Our students are learning about a diverse array of topics ranging from neuroscience to the geometry of comic book characters and everything in-between!
Student curiosity is what drives Saturday Academy forward during these uncertain times. Let me ask you a question – have you ever experienced an aha! moment, when an idea becomes crystal clear? For those of you who are parents, have you seen your child have an aha! moment? I have a seven year-old son, and watching him find not only clarity, but joy in understanding a new concept is one of the greatest feelings I have experienced as a parent.
Nurturing a student’s spark of curiosity into an aha! moment is at the core of Saturday Academy’s mission. Whether in person or online, we create engaging learning experiences that turn curiosity into knowledge and confidence.
The online environment has offered us some surprising opportunities. Our Girls Engage Technology (GET) program focuses on 4th and 5th grade girls. To our delight, we’ve already had 100 registrations this fall – and not just from Oregon! Girls from as far away as Florida and Pennsylvania are signing up for instruction in computer science, programming, and technology. GET makes an impact because girls are learning and gaining confidence in a supportive environment.
Let’s think about that for a second.
Studies have shown that a majority of young elementary school girls can see themselves as a scientist. These statistics drop precipitously during the middle and high school years. The GET program provides a nurturing learning environment exactly when they need it. These young women are being empowered by a culture of possibility – and are able to experience this virtually from their homes all across the nation.
Saturday Academy believes in creating opportunities like these for all learners, regardless of race, gender, economic or educational background. This year we took a stand as an organization that believes Black Lives Matter. We use an equity lens through which our entire organization functions and provide tuition assistance for those who may be in need. We value all learning and believe that all students should have the opportunity to interact and learn with our wonderful community of STEM experts.
But we are in need of your help. Despite pivoting to an online format, our organization is struggling to keep its doors open. Your donation today will make a difference: $50 can help us ship materials directly to students for a class, $500 can allow an underserved student to attend an online summer camp with tuition assistance, and a gift of $1,000 can support outreach to secure new mentors for the Apprenticeships in Science and Engineering program. As we continue to adjust our programming to the new landscape, a gift of $2,000 can transform an in-person class into a remote learning opportunity that still provides high quality engagement, expert instruction, and materials to keep our students engaged.
Please consider making a donation today at www.saturdayacademy.org/donate or you can also text STEM2020 to 44321 to donate. I encourage you to give whatever amount you are able. Take confidence in knowing that your gift will make an immediate impact with an established organization with deep community roots. The mission of Saturday Academy has been constant for 38 years, but it has never been more urgent. Your gift today will help create the next aha! moment, a moment of not only intellectual growth, but of joy. And right now, we can all use a little more joy.
Thank you for your support,
Jackie Wirz, PhD