Saturday, April 30, 2011

STEM is awesome!

Last summer my son attended the STEM camp at the United States Naval Academy. STEM is the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics program for future Engineer/Technology/Science Majors. The Naval Academy has one of the top Engineering schools in the country and their program is just amazing.  The students get first hand exposure to Robotics, Chemistry, Biometrics, Cryptography, Forensics and more.  They get to work in labs and have the opportunity to learn so much more than they ever dreamed possible.  It is a tough program to get accepted to and my son had the best time last year.  It was without a doubt the academic highlight of his entire life.  As soon as the admissions board opened this year, my son reapplied.  It is almost impossible to get chosen twice, but my son was determined to do all he could to get selected again this year. He was so impressed with all he learned last summer, he just couldn't wait to learn even more this year.  He has been checking his mail every day for weeks and weeks with eager anticipation. Well today the mail arrived.  There on top was the thin white envelope from the United States Navy.  We gathered around as he opened the envelope and he braced himself for the disappointing news. As soon as he opened the letter his face brightened and was filled with the biggest smile I think I have ever seen. He just kept saying NO WAY! NO WAY! NO WAY!  The very first word on the letter was, "Congratulations!" He is still in disbelief. He is SO excited!!!!  I am so excited too. The Naval Academy has a way to reach the center of his core interests. A way to bring out the desire in him to be all that he can be.  It makes him excited to learn. It makes him want to succeed and to learn and to do his very best.  I am so grateful that he has this opportunity again.  It means the world to him and to me.  The very first person he called was of course his sister who is a Chemistry major at the Naval Academy.  She was SO proud of him. He is already planning on what he needs to bring.  First up.....we need to go to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.  My soon to be 15 year old son needs some sort of picture ID.  He is not old enough for a driver's permit of course -but the only ID card he has is a YMCA membership card with a picture of him from when he was 6 years old.  He is now almost 6'3" and NO one believes me when I say he is 14 years old.  I am thinking the airlines might want some proof that my very tall son is indeed only 14. I found out that the BMV will do picture ID's which is great.  He will need one to get on the Naval Base. You must present a picture ID at the gate if you are over 16 years of age and last time I think they were starting to question why he didn't have an ID. The last few visits he has been mistaken for a midshipman. My son is ready to go first thing Monday to get the ID.  I told him he had to go to school first. You know - school which equals learning which equals good grades which equals getting into the Naval Academy. OH I am SUCH a mean Mommy! I guess he will have to wait all the way until AFTER school before getting his new ID.  Egads! How will he ever stand it?!

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