(TALLAHASSEE, FL — September 10, 2012) —On Monday, September 10, 2012, Holy Comforter Episcopal School dedicated the resource-rich science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) facility, the Knight STEM Building. The naming of the building honors Bob and Gail Knight of Tallahassee and their commitment of time and treasure to Holy Comforter over the past 17 years and, in particular, Mrs. Knight’s leadership as chair of the Board of Trustees from 2007 – Spring of 2012. During her tenure, Mrs. Knight has worked through a seamless transition in school leadership and weathered a tough economic climate while in a capital campaign.
The Right Reverend Samuel Johnson Howard, Bishop of Florida, presided over the Knight STEM Building Blessing on a beautiful, breezy morning. Over 600 parents, board members, dignitaries and students celebrated as Bishop Howard blessed the building. During the ceremony, Head of School Peter Klekamp and Gail Knight addressed the school community about the newly constructed, state of the art building and STEM program.
Peter Klekamp said, “We as a school community are in a better place because of Gail Knight and her family. Today we celebrate The Knight STEM building. A building, which offers our students a unique setting in which to apply what they have learned as well as learning opportunities both in and outside the classroom.”
The Knight STEM Building is primarily a Middle School Building, however, all Lower School children attend their weekly STEM class in the Lower School STEM lab, engaged in a progressive program that incorporates science & math with engineering components and the use of technology.
The building features:
• Two fully equipped science laboratories
• Lower school STEM classroom for grades K-5
• An interactive energy monitoring system featured on a large screen in the hallway
• Rain barrels for collecting water
• 2 classrooms with ceiling tiles removed so that structural, electrical and mechanical components are exposed.
• A fully equipped data center that houses the campus wide network, security, fire, intercom, and telephone infrastructure, complete with generator backed up power, redundant internet connections, and weatherproofed construction.
In the STEM program, teachers will develop real-world, complex and open-ended problems; act as facilitators, making sure students are staying on track and finding resources; raise questions that deepen the connections students make within the concepts they are being taught; balance between providing guidance and encouraging self-directed learning. In a STEM environment, students will develop critical thinking and problem solving skills, which will encourage imagination and productivity. Robotics projects, for instance, give students the opportunity to test the knowledge of applications as well as the ability to interact with their peers in teamwork, time management, project management and problem solving.
The two-story 12,385 square foot Knight STEM Building opened in early August and is the only one of its kind for an independent school in the area dedicated solely to STEM-based hands-on learning for students in grades K-8. The building itself incorporates environmental best practices and serves as a teaching tool, with electrical and mechanical components left exposed for exploration and understanding. With project based learning, students will develop critical thinking and problem solving skills, which will encourage imagination and productivity.
“I am so proud that Holy Comforter Episcopal School is taking this momentous step with the addition of the STEM Building,” said Gail Knight, Chair of the HCES Board of Trustees ’07-‘12. “Not only does this facility enhance our current curriculum offerings, but it will give our students a competitive edge in an ever-changing world.”
Holy Comforter Episcopal School is located in the heart of northeast Tallahassee on an 85 acre campus off Fleischmann Road. For more information you may contact the school at 850-383-1007.
Why STEM in today’s world?
• Over the past 10 years, growth in STEM jobs was three times as fast as that of non-STEM jobs.
• STEM occupations are projected to grow by 17 percent from 2008 to 2018, compared to 9.8 percent growth from non-STEM occupations.
• STEM workers command higher wages, earning 26 percent more than their non-STEM counterparts.
• More than two-thirds of STEM workers have at least a college degree, compared to less than one-third of non-STEM workers.
• STEM degree holders enjoy higher earnings, regardless of whether they work in STEM or non-STEM occupations.
Source: U.S. Department of Commerce Economics and Statistics Administration. STEM Good Jobs Now and for the Future. http://www.esa.doc.gov/sites/files/reports/documents/stemfinaljuly14_1.pdf