BOWLING GREEN — Students of all ages stretched across Diddle Arena on Tuesday presenting their respective projects during the STLP regional competition.
The Student Technology Leadership Program “uses project-based learning principles to empower student learning and achievement through the utilization (and creation) of technology to solve school and community needs,” according to the organization’s website.
“STLP provides a means for (students) to design, make, connect and learn.”
Barren County Schools Superintendent Bo Matthews walked around to various booths and listened to students as they presented their ideas and aspirations. Scott Harper, BCS director of instruction and technology, was also touring the competition, listening to students and discussing their projects with them.
“Coming to Western for the regional STLP is always a highlight of the school year,” Harper said. “Being able to see all the innovative things that students are doing, and being able to have an exhibition of their learning and what they’re doing is a great opportunity.
“Our student look forward to it, and I do as well.”
Harper said the fact that students get to see what other students from around the region are doing is also very beneficial, as they can adapt new ideas to their own future projects.
Shana Vincent, who teaches Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math at Red Cross Elementary, said technology changes every day, “so if other schools can go around and see what other districts are doing and what other schools are doing, they can catch on to other technology usage.”
“We can even better ourselves by looking at what has worked for other districts and other schools,” Vincent said. “I think working together and seeing what people can come up with is my favorite part — just seeing the new technology and how people are using it.”
Barren County High Schools seniors Kalei Staples, Samantha Morgan and Travis Pendygraft — who are in the Barren County Technology Apprenticeship Program — spoke about all the work they were able to complete over the summer at the new Barren County Innovation Zone. They said their work saved the school district $300,000 worth of labor — but they also got paid for their efforts.
Pendygraft said the equipment they use “is stuff that is used in the real world.”
“(South Central Rural Telephone Cooperative) came to my house and was hooking up fiber,” he said. “They used the same fusion splicer that we did.
“It was awesome. I asked him, ‘Is that a fusion splicer?’ He said, ‘Yeah, you’re the first person I know who actually knows what this is called.’
“It’s really cool to be getting that experience that nobody else is getting.”
These BCHS seniors also led teams of other students as they worked on various projects.
“We were taught once and then from there it was our responsibility to then teach the other students,” Morgan said.
Pendygraft said the seniors are trying to transfer their knowledge to the next generation of students. He added that he is more than happy to pay it forward.
“Right now we are the only people who have had this experience and have been able to learn all of this stuff,” Pendygraft said. “That’s not how we want to keep it. We want to pass that down and teach other students.”
Morgan said she enjoyed presenting their knowledge to younger students.
“All the kids getting to see this, they’re really seeing the value in studying technology and how prevalent it is today and how because we are doing this, we are going to be able to have successful careers — go to college and be really successful,” she said. “They can kind of see our model. Maybe it will encourage them to pursue that as well.”
Staples said technology “is literally everywhere.”
“It’s all around you all the time,” she said. “So learning about technology and how it works is very vital — even if you’re not going to go into technology, you need to know how to use technology, so just learning about it and teaching others is incredible.”
Several area students qualified for the state competition, according to Twitter posts from various school groups. The Glasgow Daily Times will publish official results from the regional competition when they are released at a later date.