Art is an integral, but often overlooked part of our basic thought process; without art, there is no creativity, and without creativity, innovation becomes impracticable. Such is the thinking behind MCHS Steam Club. “Art is involved in everything, and the creativity that comes from artistry allows for plans and ideas to be turned into full-fledged projects,” said Bailey Powell-Espiritu, MC senior and STEAM club president. MC STEAM Club (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics) takes on a novel approach to the conventional STEM acronym by both acknowledging and supporting the artistic aspect of left-brained (analytical and methodical) fields.
“STEAM club is an art instituted program that unifies many students and teachers who have a keen interest in designing, creating, or improving areas of Mt. Carmel,” said MC senior and STEAM club member Jayme Labidou.
Whether you wish to satisfy an ever-prominent green thumb or metamorphose your ideas into real-life creations by technological means, the STEAM club diversifies projects to include all interests.
“Recently, we finished building a shed, while in the past we’ve made sugar skulls, taken care of the garden, painted, and even laser cut wood,” said Gina Um, MC senior and STEAM Club member.
The club has coordinated with multiple teachers across campus to help facilitate a love for using creativity and innovation to improve the community. One of the largest projects STEAM club members endeavored this year was building and maintaining a garden behind Ms. Talle’s room. Creating a natural space that students and staff could admire and use was a lengthy process, however. Some of the tasks involved planting various seeds, pulling weeds, printing original wooden plaques using a 3D printer to label flora within the garden, and constructing a shed to store all necessary equipment. Although the process was cumbersome, it reaped countless benefits.
“Groups such as the APES class were able to use the garden to study and examine for a lab of their own. Aside from educational value, the garden is beautiful in its own right, and if students need a safe, calm place to hang out, that is available to them as well,” Espiritu said.
Not only has the final product resulted in an irreplaceable resource, but the garden’s formative stages also created unforgettable memories for STEAM Club members.
“My favorite activity from this year would be pulling weeds and cleaning up the garden. [..] This is where we all got to become friends rather than just ‘kids with a task to accomplish,’ so it became more than just a class for most of us,” Espiritu said.
STEAM Club has benefited its members in more ways than one. Beyond daily bonding and the creation of numerous new friendships, members can attest to the fact that this club has both improved upon many existing skill sets in addition to creating completely new ones, such as instructing younger students.
“My leadership skills increased because of my experience in STEAM. By instructing younger levels with their tasks, my communication skills also increased which I was lacking at,” Labidou said.
STEAM Club is always looking to engage its members and foster growth, and the COVID 19 pandemic has not hindered this process. Besides maintaining an active Instagram and reaching out virtually to all club members, Labidou is currently making flyers to advertise the program if school resumes. Meanwhile, Espiritu hopes members will apply the skills they garnered from the club to at-home projects, such as wire sculptures.
“I’ve had a wire sculpture that I started last year and never got around to finishing. I’d like to complete it during quarantine so that it can be a part of the garden once we return to school,” Um said.
Although the future of this school year is uncertain, the STEAM club will resume in 2021 with more creative ideas and projects for students to be a part of. This club has helped inspire and prepare members for a conglomeration of fields, from engineering to environmentalism. The STEAM club has a place for everyone, the spots are just waiting to be filled.