CCA holds inaugural Science National Honor Society induction ceremony
Nineteen Commonwealth Charter Academy students joined the nation's premier Science Honor Society in pursuit of expanded STEM education.
Commonwealth Charter Academy on Feb. 10 hosted the inaugural Science National Honor Society induction ceremony at the school's Andreas office. Fifteen learners attended — six in person and nine virtually — to receive their certificates denoting their membership in the esteemed society.
There were 19 members inducted into CCA’s Science National Honor Society. Members and their families were accompanied by SNHS adviser Julianna Schweinsburg, co-adviser Lauren Freeland and the event’s keynote speaker: WBRE meteorologist Dave Kuharchik, who shared the story of his career path with students.
Qualifying to be a part of the society is no small feat. Students must maintain a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA and have a 3.5 or higher GPA in science courses. They must have completed at least one honors or Advanced Placement science course prior to 11th grade.
“These learners are really the best of the best,” said Schweinsburg, who is a high school science teacher at CCA.
Because of the rigorous requirements, most learners who partake are in 11th or 12th grade. However, one particularly ambitious member is in ninth grade, having taken an honors science course during her eighth-grade year.
CCA began participating in the SNHS toward the end of the last school year, in hopes of providing a space for science-minded students to share their interests and knowledge. “There was a real need for it. … We have some learners who love science and are interested in new things happening in the science field and eager to share their knowledge,” Schweinsburg said.
Students meet on a monthly basis to share lessons or current event topics with the group. Members are required to complete five hours of volunteering by the end of the year, which many have chosen to do by providing science tutoring at CCA’s after-school program.
By participating in the SNHS, students have an avenue to grow together, increasing socialization and scientific opportunities.
“I’ve found there are many benefits to a hands-on STEM education. … Students learn and remember more through hands-on activities as they’re able to directly apply what they’re learning in their lessons,” Schweinsburg said. As a teacher, she said it is easier to reference activities that students have personally completed, such as dissections during field trips, rather than asking them to recall textbook definitions.
Schweinsburg said she believes an extensive STEM program gets the gears working at an early age for CCA students to prepare for future careers.
“It makes students think about what they want to do after school and broadens their horizons to all the possibilities that are out there," she said.
The students inducted were Ashraya Ananthanarayanan; LeeAnn Bachman; chairwoman; Hannah Bowser; Quinn Broussard, secretary; Paige Dolaway; Gregory Fackler; Madison Givey; Alexandria Hoffman; Kody Kamosa, vice chairman; Donna Khademi; Abigail Knol; Emilie Laychock; Eugene Lee; Kali Mellin; Chelsey Phraner; Taylor Pratte; Miranda Sheridan; Damien Wohlfeil; and Jillian Zaorski, treasurer.