On Mar 5, 2022, La Grange School District 102 hosted their Annual STEM Expo (Science Technology Engineering and creative Making), where students from all schools within the district from grade levels Kindergarten through Sixth grade gathered to present their projects. In total there were 85 projects and 100 students who participated in the event. All students who participated received an award for their efforts in presenting and developing their projects. 

“I saw a wide range of projects, a kindergarten student shared what she learned about rainbows, a 4th grader who made and tested his own drone, or a 6th grader explaining wave motion,” said Science Center Director, Virginia Hohl.

One student, in particular, was able to meet the engineer on which he based his project. Enrique Mercado created and presented his project on how jet engines function. In his presentation, he was able to create a replica of the engine with crafting materials. Little did he know there was someone at the event who had actually built and developed the engine in real life. The engineer was able to congratulate Enrique on his hard work and even signed his poster project, wishing him good luck in the future. 

“The STEM EXPO is a great event to highlight students' scientific curiosity,” said Superintendent Dr. Kyle Schumacher,  “It is exciting to see what our students are interested in and to see the community come together to celebrate kids within our District!”

The STEM Expo had to be put on hold for the past two years due to the COVID-19 outbreak, but are looking forward to the preceding years to come. “This year had fewer students than in the past, probably due to the pandemic, but their projects and enthusiasm were just as great,” said Virginia Hohl. The Science Center is hopeful for next year to return to full capacity and have more students participating in the event as they had in years past. 

After the STEM Expo, families and students were invited to tour La Grange D102’s Science Center for an open house event. Activities included Lego challenges, where the students could build the fastest car, the strongest bridge, or the tallest earthquake-proof tower.  

The District 102 Allen P. Zak Science Discovery Center (Science Center) was started in 1990 for the purpose of providing hands-on, activity-based STEM lessons and is dedicated to providing quality science instruction.  It was established as part of the science curriculum for the school district that strives to provide an outstanding science program.