August 4, 2021

School Matters, 8/4/2021

Pennington Girls in STEM Win Contest

The Pennington School Girls in STEM club recently won the grand prize in the Lemonade Stand Contest, a competition designed to kickstart projects and small businesses.

Their winning entry was a proposal for their hybrid sanitary napkin project, which brought them the $20,000 cash grand prize, a $40,000 marketing package on Whalebone websites and social media, and three mentoring sessions with Alex Faherty, the founder and CEO of Faherty Brand, which, along with Whalebone, co-sponsored the competition.

Over the past several years Pennington students have used their STEM skills to refurbish and donate iPads and to teach introductory STEM lessons to students in the Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Malawi, Africa.

One of their projects over the past two years has been development of a hybrid sanitary napkin, a project addressing a key problem faced by girls in Dzaleka. Due to shortages of water and quality menstrual products, girls living in the camp frequently miss school during their periods, which often leads them to drop out of school altogether. 

During the past school year the Pennington School Girls in STEM designed, sewed, and tested several versions of a hybrid sanitary napkin and mailed prototypes to the girls in Dzaleka, who gave them feedback on their design over Zoom.

“Now that we have a product that will help girls living in a low-water-resource environment stay in school, we want to package this product into a larger initiative,” said 2021 graduate Emily Barkley in the Girls in STEM project pitch video. Girls in STEM plan to use their prize money to put this larger initiative into action.

The contest judges stated: “Amongst 556 entries, your concept truly stood out with its innovation, consideration, and efforts to make the world a better place.”

Community Park Students Create Mural

Community Park third graders have created a mural commemorating the 2020-21 school year. Working in collaboration with their teachers and several parents, the students drew self-portraits, some with face masks, some without; created tiles from the portraits; and designed a mural with the tiles surrounding a message in English and Spanish.

The mural states: “During this difficult year, we learned the importance of nature, friends, family, and school. More than anything else, we missed being together!”

PPS Preschool Expands

The Princeton Public Schools’ (PPS) free public preschool is expanding next month, with development of the newest site at the Marcy T. Crimmins Learning Center near Princeton Community Village, in partnership with the Princeton YMCA.

PPS is looking forward to welcoming 15 new students to the Crimmins site, adding to three existing classrooms at the Burke Foundation Early Childhood Center at the Princeton YWCA and two in-district classrooms at Johnson Park and Riverside Schools.

PPS has expanded preschool spots by 125 percent since 2019 and remains committed to increasing high-quality, free public preschool for all Princeton residents.

English Language Learners Complete Camp

The English Language Camp for students who are in the process of learning English has completed its summer program at Princeton High School (PHS).

“We have been thrilled with the enthusiasm and large turnout this summer,” said Andrea Dinan, PHS Ideas Center leader who has been involved with the English Language Learners program for the last 10 years.

The 20 students who participated met daily to play get-to-know-you games, practice their English, and work on maintaining skills learned during the school year. Dinan and Christine Carbone, who run the program, were supported by PHS student volunteers and students from the Princeton Human Resources summer youth employment program. 

Native Spanish speakers in the program were also supported by teachers from Merida, Mexico, who participated through Zoom to work with students on English grammar lessons.

Princeton Academy Orator Wins Recognition

Jin “Owen” Sun, a rising eighth grader at Princeton Academy of the Sacred Heart (PASH), was recognized as a National Showcase Finalist in the declamation event at the National Speech and Debate Tournament this summer.

With more than 6,000 middle and high school students competing each summer at the tournament, which is the largest academic competition in the world, Owen was the only middle school student from New Jersey to earn this national finalist recognition.

PASH students competed virtually this year in New Jersey Speech and Debate  League tournaments, and had the opportunity to expand their virtual participation to 18 middle school tournaments around the country.

Also this summer PASH Head of School Alfred F. (Rik) Dugan III was named the middle school administrator of the year by the National Speech and Debate Association for his support of the program. 

PASH Director of Technology and Summer Programs Raymond Shay is the coach of the school’s speech and debate team.