Museum volunteers share STEM knowledge with eager students


STEM students enjoyed the introduction of an inaugural program created by volunteers at Titusville’s Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum who have come out of retirement to help teach STEM — or Science, Technology, Electronics and Math — concepts.

Courtesy of Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum

Volunteers at Titusville’s Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum have come out of retirement to help teach STEM — or Science, Technology, Electronics and Math — concepts.

Actually, the Command’s program addresses STEMA, since aviation was added to the mix for the 16 students ages 10 to 17 enrolled in the inaugural program aimed at helping young people develop skill sets that will meet future career requirements.

In addition to helping students develop technical competence, the program also infuses new blood into the museum’s volunteer base.

“With the aging of volunteers at the Museum, we need youth to get active in the areas that would need to be filled in due to attrition,” said Bill Teixeira, who coordinates the STEM initiative, the first in the Museum’s history.

Local schools, particularly Astronaut High School, were instrumental in recruiting students for the free program. Kennedy Space Center’s Space-Track Team agreed to lead some of the classes. Patrick Air Force Base 920th Rescue Wing also joined in the endeavor, sending Capt. Elizabeth Holloway to teach flight basics on a T-34 Navy Trainer aircraft.

Military veterans, teachers and other community members volunteered to share their skills with the young people.

Not only did the students hone their STEM skills, but they also sharpened their ability to work with each other.

“It was interesting to see how the older students took the younger students under their wing at times to help out,” Teixeira said.

The first STEM session, which started in April of this year, ended in July with a cookout for students, parents, VAC members and guests. An awards presentation also was held.

Representing the STEM Valiant Radials, Astronaut High School ROTC cadet Koshena Nemband presented Commander Norman Daniels the STEM Appreciation Award for “putting his heart and soul into the Valiant Air Command.”

During the cookout, team member Frances Cottle encouraged students to follow their career dreams.

“There is no such thing as a hard or difficult technology,” she said.

The second STEM session begins in October, and the warbirds’ volunteers will be there.

“There is nothing greater in life than to pass on knowledge,” Teixeira said.

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