Home Lifestyle Richmond County students show off STEM knowledge

Richmond County students show off STEM knowledge

Students from Rockingham Middle demonstrate a STEM project at Cole Auditorium. See more photos below the story. Photos by Chris McDonald - Richmond Observer

HAMLET — The Inaugural 2023 STEM Showcase took place at Cole Auditorium on Thursday evening. All schools throughout Richmond County as well as Richmond Community College, Angela Watkins and Discovery Place and Kathy Shelley with 4-H and Steve Johnson from Building Engineers were represented with displays that showed various STEM projects.

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. According to the Southern Illinois University website: “A student well-versed and literate in the STEM fields tends to be an innovative and critical thinker …He or she can apply what they’ve learned to real world problems, improving their communities along the way.”

Jill Rogers, STEM coordinator of Richmond County Schools, opened the proceedings by thanking all schools and their administrators as well as Superintendent Dr. Joe Farrell and the school board members for their assistance with the event.

“This all would not be possible without the help of so many,” said Rogers. “I would especially like to thank RCC for letting us have this event at Cole Auditorium and for participating in this joint event with us tonight.”

Rogers said that events like this aided in the development of a STEM ecosystem.

“A STEM ecosystem is a collection of organizations and individuals committed to developing Science, Technology, Engineering and Math related opportunities in their community, said Rogers. “This showcase of work of STEM beginning of a strong root system that we are growing.”

Of all of the pieces of STEM, Engineering is the category that is most often left out.

“The cyclical design process which you are seeing throughout the building tonight is very important to the use and you see that work throughout the STEM work that students have been doing,” said Rogers.

Rogers said that, according to U.S. Department of Labor statistics, STEM related occupations are on the rise.

“Over 10 million workers in STEM-related occupations are projected to grow by 11 percent by 2031,” said Rogers. “From that 11 percent, 4 percent of those jobs are projected to be in engineering.”


Keynote Speaker for the event was Earl Ijames, the curator of African-American history from the N.C. Museum of History. Ijames, who is a farmer and a historian as well, spoke about the importance of the long leaf pine forests.

“The Longleaf Pine Forest itself is the second largest and widely diverse ecosystem in the western Hemisphere, second only to the Amazon Rain Forest,” said Ijames.

Dr. Julian Carter, assistant superintendent for Human Resources, was amazed at the turnout.

“It was an awesome experience,” said Carter. “It was well supported by the community and Jill Rogers showcased some of the best things we have in our district.
“I am so proud to see the schools and the kids who participated. It was a great event.”

The new superintendent echoed the sentiment.

“I was really excited to see the large turnout for our STEM Night,” said Farrell. “There were so many engaged students and parents in attendance. I would also like to express my sincere gratitude to the Board of Education members in attendance and to Jill Rogers and so many other Richmond County Schools staff members for their work to make the evening a success.”

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