Learning Points

IR students climb STEM to architecture and engineering

Coastal Point • R. Chris Clark: Joseph Ciriello presents a real toy car and the 3D computer model at Indian River's STEM class.Coastal Point • R. Chris Clark: Joseph Ciriello presents a real toy car and the 3D computer model at Indian River's STEM class.Many of today’s K-12 students are preparing for jobs that don’t even exist yet. As technology catapults forward, Indian River High School is pulling the lever with a pre-engineering pathway for STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics).

Only two years old, the four-year STEM pathway is aimed at preparing students for a new level of technology and design in their college and careers.

“I like creating things,” said freshman Joseph Ciriello, who joined STEM after being inspired by a family friend who works in mechanical engineering. In the design-heavy course Introduction to Engineering Design, he’s ready to start building, but the students are first learning the computer programs that will propel them to the next step.

Long Neck counselor loves students, community service

Cathy Besden-Showell has more than 700 students at Long Neck Elementary School, but she aims to make a difference where it’s really needed.

“You have the opportunity to impact the students’ lives. I’m sure you don’t impact them all, but … some, you do make a difference,” she said.

Comolli brings passion to teaching at Indian River High

Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Indian River High School’s Diane Comolli recently earned Teacher of the?Year at IRHS. Comolli compared winning the honor to an Oscar of the teaching world.Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Indian River High School’s Diane Comolli recently earned Teacher of the?Year at IRHS. Comolli compared winning the honor to an Oscar of the teaching world.When Principal Bennett Murray tried to congratulate Diane Comolli for winning Teacher of the Year at Indian River High School, he couldn’t actually reach her. Students were eagerly swarming the English teacher’s classroom.

“I went down there to congratulate her after I had made the announcement via the PA system. I couldn’t get to her because her students were congratulating her and giving her hugs. Her kids were just as proud of her as we were,” Murray said. “I thought that spoke volumes that the students took time out of their schedules to congratulate her.”

“I was overwhelmed,” she said. “There are such fabulous teachers in this building. Just to be considered … is an honor. I guess, if you’re a teacher, that’s an Oscar!”

“I was so glad and honored to represent what is good about this building,” she said. “Indian River demonstrates each day what’s good about public schools.”

Teaching 10th-grade English, she sees students of all abilities, and she wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I have a passion for all kids. They all deserve to learn. They all can learn, no matter what circumstances they come from,” said Comolli, adding that she feels she can approach multiple needs and learning styles.

“I got that from advertising. I talk to my audience in a way they’ll listen. … In high school, that’s especially important,” she said.

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