“Budget issues are pervasive throughout most schools, and teachers are leaned on heavily to provide top level education while given little resources. Hartford has many schools where this is the case. People care, but it’s difficult to stay positive when the funding isn’t there to support the classrooms.
These are the schools that NESS targets for scholarship opportunities. We provide engaging programs for students who otherwise wouldn’t have these kinds of opportunities. A short time ago I taught at a elementary school in Hartford who was a recipient to one of these scholarships. The scholarship paid for me to teach Biomimicry for two rotations to the 4th and 5th graders. I brought in microscopes and artifacts of interesting plants and animals to inspire the student to invent a new piece of technology based on nature. For me the program was very typical; full of smiles, wonder, 1000 questions, and a few exclamations of ‘eww gross!’ The one exception was that more kids were fascinated by the microscopes. Not the shark jaws, the full crocodile mount, nor the live seaweed. The microscopes were the most popular. I was amazed that one of the most basic pieces of scientific equipment that I brought provided the most entertainment.
Afterwards, the teacher was thrilled with the program and commented, ‘you would never be able to tell which ones give me the most trouble! They were all so engaged and learned so much!’
Being able to provide these programs to any children is why I work at NESS, but when it’s to children who have never had this type of opportunity, it makes it even more meaningful. NESS scholarship programs have allowed me to provide many smiles in Hartford: on students, teachers, principals, parents, and me.”
-Evan McOmber, Education Specialist