Gears, Gadgets and Goosebumps at CVHS

Visiting the STEM-centered event were, from left, GUSD board of education president Jennifer Freemon, State Senator Anthony Portantino, GUSD board members Kathleen Cross and Ingrid Gunnell.
Photos by Mary O’KEEFE



On Sunday the Crescenta Valley High School robotics 589 Falkon team was joined by other robotic teams in a celebration of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

There were 37 booths on site – some represented local organizations but most represented STEM in one way or another. Elementary and middle school kids and their families learned how to engineer structures with candy toothpicks or popsicle sticks, and color their own rockets.

Prom Plus board member Harry Leon (forward in hat) prepared barbecue fare at the event.

Students from 589 robotics came up with the idea for the booths and made sure they were there to guide the younger kids. There were booths that were hosted by STEM-focused organizations including Jet Propulsion Laboratory, USC Viterbi K-12 STEM Center Coding Camps and Glendale Community College.

“There were 794 people plus volunteers,” said 589 mentor and CVHS teacher Jacob Poole.

Glendale Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Darneika Watson and board members President Jennifer Freemon, Ingrid Gunnell and Kathleen Cross were also on hand to walk through the event.

The idea for this event, which was given a Halloween twist with the title of Gears, Gadgets and Goosebumps, came after team members from 589 met with Senator Anthony Portantino. They met with the senator to discuss how he could work with them in promoting STEM and together they came up with the concept of hosting a day of STEM-focused activities on the grounds of the high school.

Poole said he had done this type of event when he was at college when booths were set up throughout the campus to promote STEM, so that template was used to create Sunday’s event.

Portantino was at the event to kick it off and to visit the booths. He praised the kids for their dedication to STEM and talked about how important STEM jobs are for the future.

“You are going to make better decisions than we did,” he told the crowd.

Portantino encouraged the kids to go to all the hands-on booths and “learn from everything.”

“With our goal to expose more K-8th grade students to STEM through hands-on activities, we think we did a fantastic job,” Poole said. “We had a lot of positive responses about how fun the activities were. For our first time running this event, the students did an amazing job organizing and running it. We definitely have a good idea of how we can improve the event for next time.”