Generous annual donation enhances 5th grade STEM program at Ada Harris School
Ada Harris School in Cardiff School District is recognizing Michael Deshler, a senior engineer in cyber systems at General Atomics Aeronautical Inc. in San Diego, for his longtime support of the school’s STEM program. In 2020, Deshler and other engineers donated $1,800 toward the program for 14 Tello programmable quadcopter drones with extra batteries, chargers and propellers. The drones provide the students a fun way to learn about physics, engineering, and computer programming, including programming languages, such as Scratch, Swift, and Python. The students can even write code to command multiple Tello EDUs to fly in a swarm.
Over the past five years Deshler has generously requested and received grants nearing $6,000 for Ada Harris School from the General Atomics Sciences Education Foundation, an organization that has been actively involved in improving K-12 science and engineering education since 1992. With those funds he helped Ada Harris School teachers in purchasing a significant amount of STEM learning equipment including: Breakout EDU boxes, Dot Robots, Sphero Robots, Lego MindStorms robots, multiple large projector screens and a Cricut Maker, an app-driven custom material cutting machine for students and teachers.
In addition, General Atomics has donated thousands of dollars in time arranging for engineers, including Deshler, to speak on careers in engineering and cyber security at the school. Most recently, Deshler and three other General Atomics engineers (engineering associates), Kent Hurlbert, Haley Kim and Christopher Friday, spoke to nearly 100 Ada Harris 5th-grade students during their Zoom class meetings. The team of STEM professionals shared their passion for engineering and recommended that students be aware of cyber security in accessing the internet to always keep their login and password information private and to inform a teacher and parent about anything that makes them uncomfortable online, which is especially important as online learning continues for half of the day at Ada Harris.
This recognition by Ada Harris School is timely as Deshler is planning his retirement from General Atomics in 2021.
Deb Heyer, Ada Harris School 5th grade teacher, said this about Deshler’s retirement, “We are going to miss Mr. Deshler’s commitment, dedication, and generosity to our district. I have been working with Mr. Deshler for the past seven years and while he has graciously written grants requesting monetary STEM school funds from General Atomics, his knowledge and in-person presentations with the students are going to be hard to top. We’re happy he introduced us to Mr. Hurlbert, Ms. Kim, and Mr. Friday during the class Zoom meetings so perhaps one of them can fill his shoes in the future. On behalf of everyone in Cardiff School District, we wish him the best in retirement.”
Ada Harris School and Cardiff School in the Cardiff School District recently participated in the Hour of Code, a worldwide coding project which ran from Dec. 7-13. The Hour of Code started as a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify “code”, to show that anybody can learn the basics. Coding helps nurture problem-solving skills, logic and creativity. By starting in elementary school, students will have a foundation for success in any 21st-century career path. It has since become a worldwide effort to celebrate computer science and engineering, starting with one-hour coding activities but expanding to all sorts of educational opportunities. — News release
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