At one time, students at the Friday Harbor Schools were allowed several weeks of absence during the fall and spring so they could assist their families in harvesting and planting at the farms. When school ended, many students went to work in agricultural-related activities. Today’s students are far more technology-centered. They want to transition smoothly from a small town high school to urban universities, high tech firms, and a computer savvy society.
In 2013, work began on converting an outdated shop facility on the grounds of Friday Harbor High School into a STEM center. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, vital skills for today’s world.
The first STEM class has already begun – a video game design and coding class that will pave the way for intermediate and advanced coding and design classes to include mobile app development across multiple platforms and devices. The construction is expected to be completed by this fall, and the classes will include:
- Materials Engineering, using 3D printers and other computer-controlled manufacturing techniques.
- Robotics Foundations, including designing and building aerial drones and remotely-operated underwater vehicles.
- Automotive Foundations, a course providing insights into classic combustion engines through to hybrid and electric vehicle design.
- Digital Photography, using everything from iPhone cameras to professional DSLRs.
- Social Media Marketing, to highlight personal and organizational branding of the amazing opportunities the STEM program will create.
The hope is that the STEM program will be a wonderful creative laboratory where the students can bring their wildest dreams to life and help provide solutions to our local, regional, and national communities.