Cars connect Academy, elementary students

Sentinel photo by SYDNEY CROSSON
Mifflin County Academy of Science and Technology auto mechanic students, from left, Anthony Levan, Taytdum Fortson, Joey Matos, Christian Dunn, Bryanna Stacey, Gregory Knarr and Instructor Doug Stimely are pictured with the small cars that were created with the Indian Valley Elementary School second graders during a STEM event.

LEWISTOWN — Earlier this month, 19 students in the auto mechanics program at the Mifflin County Academy of Science and Technology visited second grade students at Indian Valley Elementary School. This was the second year this event was held. During their visit, Academy students provided second graders with a chance to build a small car. Electric motors, battery sources, bamboo skewers, straws, bottle caps, tongue depressors and hot glue were all utilized to create the contraption.

Doug Stimely, instructor of the auto mechanics program said, “Creating the car sparked creativity.” He also noted, “It made for a cool interaction,” between the Academy and IVES students.

Christian Dunn, a student in the auto mechanics program and senior at Juniata High School said, “Having fun with the kids and giving them not just an enjoyable day, but an experience they will remember, was the best part for me. The kids even stop back to visit us at the Academy and show off their cars.”

Dunn discussed the amount of preparation and time it took the Academy students to prepare prior to the visit.

“There was a big box of materials that I had to fix up before we went to the elementary school. There was a lot of time spent prepping the tires, the motors, you name it — but it was worth it,” he said. “That day made me really happy. It felt good to give the kids the experience that we did. It was a blessing to make the kids happy and that I got to be a part of doing something for them. It’s good to give back to the community.”

Stimely and his students received thank you cards from the second graders. They want to thank both school administrations for their cooperation and for the opportunity to have collaborated to give all of the students an unforgettable day. Stimely gives a special thank you to the Academy’s Assistant Director John Bilich and Director Daniel Potutschnig.

“(It was) a great opportunity for the second grade students and Academy students alike,” Stimely said. “The STEM project brought awareness of the Academy and the auto mechanics program. It was a fun, educational project. The biggest thing was seeing the second graders smile, laugh and having fun while learning.”