I am making a plea for the church to encourage the youth from third to twelfth grade to participate in the National Organization of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers national science fair on Wednesday, September 26th.
I am volunteering to be the chaperone/science coach for the youth of Shiloh and the children from the area. The truth is the Chester-Upland school district continues to be one the worst (if not the worst) performing school districts in the state of Pennsylvania. The data shows that academic outreach to the children of the school district needs to happen before they enter into the fourth grade. Currently, only about 4% of Chester High students graduate from high school at grade level.
While I believe that encouraging students to participate in basketball, choir, dance, and camping are important (and they are); in order to be well rounded these kids also need to be challenged academically. We really do need to have the students participate in these extracurricular activities to keep them off the streets and off drugs. Also, I think that the SAT prep class is a good idea too, but we have to remember that it is an aptitude test. If only 4% of the students are at grade level, they are doomed to do poorly on the SAT.
I asked the Delaware Valley Chapter of NOBCChE to send their resources to Shiloh Baptist Church as an effort to improve the Chester-Upland School District. They decided not to donate their resources to the Norristown school district (where their meetings are held), and instead decided to come to Chester mainly because Shiloh already has an established extracurricular science program. What they have asked in return is Shiloh's presence at the national science fair or bowl in September. The registration deadline is May 15th, and I am attaching the link to the website at the end of this email. If we encourage the kids to participate in academic programs, not only can we keep the kids off of drugs; we can get them academic scholarships.
I am of the opinion that if we do not encourage the youth to take advantage of these types of academic programs (especially free programs), we should not complain about the lack of resources to the school district.
Kerisha A. Bowen, PhD