TJCA students engage in STEM Camp

By Taylor Johnson

AVONDALE — Beginning last week, students at Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy (TJCA) have participated in an annual STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) camp, engaging in several activities not only at the school’s campus but across the county.
Students kicked off the camp by participating in field trips throughout the county, including visiting Lake Lure for a boat tour of the lake. Students also visited the Chimney Rock Village area where they sampled the local cuisine and visited the Rocky Broad River; toured the Duke Energy Power Plant, as well as the Broad River Greenway.
The camp is for students who have recently completed grades six through eight.

“We have mostly sixth graders this year, which is good. I’m glad that we’re getting the younger ones involved and hopefully interested in science and the things they can do with it,” TJCA Mathematics and Technology Department Chair Thomas Andrews said Wednesday morning.
So far this week, students participated in a number of activities at the TJCA upper campus including an intro to programming, three dimensional printing designs, green energy kits, fire volcanoes, a number of chemistry experiments, construction of CO2 cars from balsa wood, among other activities.
Wednesday, students were participating in the construction of an OWI 14 in one solar robot, which are able to be changed into 14 individual robot modes.

The camp, Andrews explained, is beneficial to students as a way to reward the students who have done well in their math and science courses (there is an application process for the camp), and also as a way to gauge which courses students may be interested in when they reach high school.
“It’s planting that seed in sixth, seventh or eighth grade so when they get into the upper grades they have an idea of what they want to do,”
This is the ninth year that the camp has been held at TJCA, which was made possible by a grant from the Stonecutter Foundation.