On November 1st, 2016 the President and CEO of American Insurance Partners (AIP), Blake Johnson, decided to do something to give back to his nearby community. To pull off the event, Mr. Johnson partnered up with Derick Brock (deemed Professor Mad) of Mad Science to bring two, fun and exciting STEM assemblies to Angie Debo Elementary in Edmond, Oklahoma. For those of you that aren’t familiar with what STEM means, we’re going to explain a bit more about it and the events that unfolded at the STEM and teacher appreciation assemblies.
First up, let's define STEM. STEM is an acronym used in the educational realm which stands for "Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math." With that in mind, the goal of Mad Science is to encourage students to find a spark and see science as an adventure. Furthermore, Mad Science seeks to help children understand science principles with easy to understand terminology and exciting experiments. Science is as vital as reading, writing, and arithmetic, but that’s not all! The Mad Science approach also invites children to pursue STEM-related careers.
In fact, the theme of these assemblies was "Up, Up, and Away" and the underlying message was to dream so big that it takes you up, up, and away. The first round of assemblies started at 9 am for Pre-K, Kindergarten, 2nd, and 5th grade. The show started with Professor Mad taking the stage to perform various fun experiments. For every demonstration, Professor Mad continued to take volunteer students from each grade on stage. Everyone watched the thrilling and educational presentation, but the best surprise came at the end.
Professor Mad called upon Delen LeCompte (the unsuspecting 4th-grade teacher) and Mr. Johnson (AIP) to be a part of the final, pre-planned experiment. After using a "Bigfoot-sized hairdryer" to blow a roll of toilet paper out into the crowd of children, Mr. Johnson stepped up to silence the crowd for the big, secret reveal of the day.
He proceeded to award Delen LeCompte with a $50 gift card to Amazon and a Certificate of Appreciation on behalf of AIP.As if one teacher being recognized for their hard work wasn’t enough, Mr. Johnson called upon the second chosen teacher to come up and receive her award and gift card, as well. Beth Winters (4th-grade teacher) took her award, smiled, and shook hands with Mr. Johnson.
The point of the awards was to show recognition for teachers that work hard to put a spark in children every day. We all know that teachers don’t get paid enough, but it’s the true teachers that enjoy being there regardless of the paycheck. That doesn’t mean, however; that they don’t deserve to be recognized for all of their hard work and at times state budgets may not allow for appreciation to be shown as needed. For the last gift, Professor Mad gave the school a signed copy of the book titled Time for Kids Big Book of Science Experiments: A Step-by-step Guide which is to be kept in the library for all to enjoy.
The second assembly was the same scenario as the first, but for the purpose of putting on a show for the afternoon sessions of Pre-K, 1st, 3rd, and 4th grade.
At the end of the last assembly, Mr. Johnson stated:
"It was such a great experience. There is nothing quite as fulfilling as watching our children see something exciting for the first time and learn why the world works the way it does. Furthermore, the teachers in our community do so much for these kids, that it is important to me that we continue to support them as a community and let them know how much of a difference they make, not just in our children’s lives, but in our community. That’s why I wanted to have the opportunity to give something back to them for the efforts they have done. I think it was a great success, and I look forward to doing more of these STEM assemblies in the future.”