By Tori Fay
On Thursday, October 5th, DPEA held a special Back-to-School night for parents of junior and senior students. Parents had an opportunity to hear from DPEA staff about the upcoming year, as well as hearing some of last year’s seniors speak about their experiences and achievements. Recent graduates shared insight about how the engineering academy has impacted them over their four years and positioned them for their academic futures.
“We were blown away by learning about all the detailed work that goes into the design and creation of the junior year project, the kinetic sculpture. We can’t wait to see the finished project. It was also really helpful to hear about what's coming in the senior year, and how to plan for it. Hearing the real-life experiences of the two recent DPEA graduates was also also a high point. We came away from the evening with a much better appreciation of what to expect this junior year in the DPEA!"
On Sunday before school started, the incoming DPEA freshmen and their families were treated to a fun and informative welcome on campus. We all remember how confusing a new campus seems at first, and all the questions we have:
How will I find my classes?
Where do they keep safety goggles again?
Where do I sit for lunch?
Started three years ago, the Freshman Kickoff is designed to answer questions and introduce students and families to DPEA. Emily Shaeer, DPEA Program Coordinator, presented an overview of the history of the academy, how the academy is structured, and what students can expect in the first few days of school. Next, students and families toured the DPEA facilities.
"I had no idea the facilities were so expansive. I am impressed with the caliber of machinery, safety procedures and the kind of work the kids will be doing during their four years. I wish I could have had this experience in high school!” shared Alison Carlson, mother of freshman Sydney Carlson.
After everyone refueled with goodies and drinks, students had an opportunity to learn more about DPEA Business Teams. Various responsibilities in the academy are supported by business teams comprised of students and parent volunteers, including travel planning, apparel ordering and selling, admissions, building maintenance, managing supply chain, art, grant writing and communications. Although participating on Business Teams typically starts sophomore year, freshman students appreciated the chance to hear what the teams do so they can plan ahead about participating in future years.
“I didn’t realize the students helped with things like planning the traveling and keeping the machine shops running. I’m interested in a few Business Teams and will use this year to learn more about what they do. It helped having them all in one place,” said freshman Nate Vance.
Emily Shaeer was pleased with the large turnout and positive feedback she got from parents. “I had parents asking about everything from curricular questions to how to navigate the parking lot in the morning. It was great to give students and parents a chance to be on campus and ask questions about the DPEA before the first day of school.”