12 students participate in MHS Project STEM

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TWELVE students are participating in Marianas High School’s Project STEM, an after-school program that provides opportunities for gifted and talented children with special needs to engage in science, technology, engineering and math disciplines.

MHS Project STEM students with their teachers and mentors.  Contributed photo

Special education teacher Cynthia Ferrari said Project STEM is the MHS version of the federally funded Project TEAMS, which ran for five years.

MHS is one of the beneficiaries of Project TEAMS or Twice Exceptional Students Achieving and Matriculating in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. It was a five-year development program for students with special needs who had potential in science and math and were interested in STEM.

It was first implemented at MHS in 2015. When it ended in 2019, MHS adopted the program with the permission of the Center on Disability Studies of the University of Hawaii at Manoa, which runs Project TEAMS.

Ferrari said representatives from the University of Hawaii visited Saipan to interview the students who participated in the program. “They wanted to know the feedback about the project. They were impressed that some Project TEAMS participants were attending college.”

MHS vice principal Melanie Sablan said, “We saw the students grow by participating in this program.”

Ferrari, the Project TEAMS coordinator, said the participating students “became more confident — they used to be quiet in the classroom.”

Through Project STEM, Ferrari said the 12 participating students are exploring science subjects, including chemistry, botany, astronomy, and others.

She added that MHS teacher Rosa Penaroyo helps the students in science, and at the end of each lesson, they work on hands-on projects.

For health science, the students conducted a community outreach on Saturday.

MHS vice principal Christine Tudela said they set up a table in the Marianas Business Plaza parking lot and offered people free blood pressure check.

She said the 12 students took turns in checking a person’s blood pressure. About 90 members of the public participated in the community outreach.

Ferrari said through Project STEM, the participating students also learn how to advocate for themselves by knowing their rights and the services available to them.

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