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Hudson Valley Press

August 29th, 2012

Local students take part in Project STEAM camp

Project STEAM camper Anthony Clark, a student from Newburgh, holds up the video game he created during his two weeks at Ulster BOCES Project STEAM Camp.
PORT EWEN - After two weeks of hands-on, interactive exploration in the areas of science, technology, engineering, arts, and math, most of the 43 regional students attending the Project STEAM Adventure Camp at Ulster BOCES were sad to see their experience end.

During a special showcase held on the last day of the program, “campers,” who were middle-school aged students entering Grades 7-9, enthusiastically showed off their finished projects to more than 120 interested audience members, including New York State Senator John Bonacic.

The camp was designed by a team of Ulster BOCES educators and offered students a hands-on, in-depth exploration in the areas of video game design and robotics. Aside from the high-tech academic discoveries, the format challenged students to collaborate, think critically, get creative, and innovate - 21st century skills that will be essential for success in the workforce.

For Anthony Clark, a student from Newburgh who will be attending Ulster BOCES in September, learning how to design video games was something in which he had always been interested. Thanks to the Project STEAM Adventure Camp, Anthony is now a successful programmer. Only four days into the intensive camp, under the tutelage of Camp Leader/Ulster BOCES instructor Taima Smith, Anthony had already created a video game named Supa Duck. The game features an ordinary duck whose girlfriend is kidnapped, prompting him to become a superhero in his quest to save her. Creating the animated game was the fulfillment of a long-time ambition for the young teenager. “I was glad to come here. I have always been interested in making video games,” said Anthony.

The camp, which was a collaborative effort between Ulster BOCES and the Ulster County YWCA, attracted campers from schools in Highland, Kingston, Rondout Valley, New Paltz, Onteora, Saugerties, Wallkill, Newburgh, Arlington, and Catskill.

The first year of camp was pronounced successful by its organizers. “Everything we see about careers of the future points to the need for students to be proficient in the STEAM areas,” says Bonnie Meadow, Grant Coordinator for Ulster BOCES. “By exposing students to these topics in a fun and engaging way, we hope we were able to spark an interest that will grow into future discovery and success.”

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