SJCS Unveils Cutting-Edge STEM Lab for Students’ Exploration and Innovation
August 18 Proclaimed as St. John the Evangelist Catholic School Day
St. John the Evangelist Catholic School (SJCS) announces the grand opening of its state-of-the-art STEM Lab, designed to ignite the curiosity and creativity of students from Kindergarten to 8th Grade. This remarkable STEM Lab stands as the sole establishment of its kind in the surrounding counties, firmly positioning SJCS as a pioneer in hands-on, experiential learning. The ribbon-cutting ceremony took place Friday, August 18 2023 amidst a gathering of the school’s educators, community leaders, and enthusiastic students.
The ribbon-cutting event was attended by Most Reverend Stephen D. Parkes, Bishop of the Diocese of Savannah, and Valdosta Mayor Scott James Matheson. Bishop Parkes' dedication to education and his remarks resonated with attendees, emphasizing the transformative power of innovative learning environments and creating soaring opportunities for all students. Mayor Matheson proclaimed August 18 as "St. John the Evangelist Catholic School Day," recognizing the school's profound impact on the community and its commitment to nurturing young minds. His proclamation underscored the school's role as a pillar of educational excellence and its strong partnership with the local community.
The SJCS STEM Lab features an array of cutting-edge amenities, including brand-new computers, engaging activities tailored to various age groups, and a diverse array of equipment such as a 3D printer, milling machine, and etching machine. These resources empower students to explore, plan, create, reflect, and share their discoveries, fostering a unique "growth mindset" approach to education. The role of the teacher transforms into that of a facilitator, guiding students on their journeys of exploration and discovery.
Principal Cheri Carter of St. John the Evangelist Catholic School underscored the significance of the STEM Lab's launch: “Our STEM Lab represents an unparalleled opportunity for our students to engage in hands-on exploration and discovery. This innovative pedagogy encourages critical thinking, problem-solving, and a deep passion for learning that will serve our students well throughout their lives. With this distinctive facility, SJCS stands at the forefront of educational excellence, setting a precedent for the region.”
At the helm of this groundbreaking endeavor is Arlene Manning, an accomplished educator with over 18 years of certified teaching experience in Georgia. Holding a BS degree from Florida State University, Manning's expertise in the natural sciences has greatly enriched the lives of countless students. Her commitment to education is further exemplified by her involvement in SJCS for the majority of her career, teaching middle school science. Manning's extensive background includes facilitating STEM programs in public school systems, leading STEM-related field trips, and inviting professionals from various fields to share their expertise with students.
With over a thousand project opportunities within the lab's kits, students at SJCS will enjoy a diverse range of experiences, each contributing to their depth of knowledge and critical thinking skills. As the only institution of its kind in the region, SJCS continues to demonstrate its commitment to providing an exceptional education that prepares students for a future driven by innovation and exploration.
SJCS continues to expand its commitment to cutting-edge education with the introduction of a state-of-the-art Broadcast Lab. This innovative facility, equipped with high-quality cameras, professional lighting, a versatile green screen, and advanced editing tools, empowers students to not only write and create captivating stories but also seamlessly integrate multimedia into various subjects. This dynamic space encourages collaborative learning and nurtures essential skills in communication, technology, and storytelling. Complementing this modernization, the school's Media Center is undergoing a comprehensive renovation, with all-new books, shelves, circulation desk, and comfortable seating areas. Scheduled for completion by the end of the month, the updated Media Center will provide an inspiring environment for students to explore the world of literature and embark on imaginative journeys.