By Patrick Donachie
Teachers, parents and Councilman Ruben Wills (D-Jamaica) were on hand Monday morning to celebrate a new science lab at Public School 80, the Thurgood Marshall Magnet School of Media and Communications, in Rochdale Village.
Principal Kersandra Cox thanked everyone for attending, and pointed out young students clad in white lab coats who were on hand for the unveiling.
“Our scholars are very excited about the work they’re doing here,” she told the visitors who crowded around tables in the newly opened lab, which cost $350,000 to design and construct. “These are my bosses right here. This is who I work for and who our teachers work for.”
Wills expressed his thanks to the individuals in his office and at the school who helped to make the new lab a reality. He said a mock courtroom and sound studio for the school were forthcoming, where students could practice composing music for film, television and commercials, as well as practice to become television news anchors. Wills also noted the hard work Cox had done in promoting science, technology, engineering and math education, also known as STEM learning.
“It has been her dream to enhance STEM education at PS 80,” Wills said.
The new lab was constructed during the previous school year, according to Beverly Massiah, an educator who is called the “champion” of the school’s science department. Construction was completed in June and students had been using the space since the start of the new school year in September.
Massiah said the new lab included a three-dimensional printer, which could turn digital files into physical objects students could interact with, as well as a newly installed Promethean screen to facilitate lesson plans and learning. She said fourth-graders were currently conducting initial research, while kindergartners were experimenting on local trees and the natural world.
“It’s trying to bring in as much real world experience as possible,” she said during the event. “We’re trying to establish collaboration.”
The L2L dancers, a volunteer dance troupe made up of students and organized by educators in the school, also performed for the attendees. After their number was completed, an impressed Wills pledged to work with the School Construction Authority to try to help build a dance studio for the performers to use in the school. STEM learners also professed excitement about utilizing the new laboratory to its full effect.
“We can’t wait to roll up our sleeves and become the budding scientists we are,” one student said to applause from the audience.
Reach reporter Patrick Donachie by e-mail at pdona