Former Forum Academy student, awarded scholarship to participate in Robotics and STEAM Olympics.
Karla Hernandez first found out about Forum Academy from her grandmother. Before starting high school her grandmother told her about this special school helping students complete their schooling “At first, I was hesitant because I didn’t really want to move away from the city and to go to a place where there were people I didn’t know. But when I reached 8th grade I had a lot of difficulties that made me take this opportunity and I was able to join the Academy.”
Arriving at the start of 10th grade, Karla began learning about the essays and exams within the rigorous IB diploma program offered by the Forum Academy. “This year I had started 11th grade, the first year of the IB diploma program, I was able to go to some classes and we were getting ready to start doing all this work. I really loved these classes, even though it was just a short time. I liked seeing the methodology that was used. It was not easy but not difficult. I would say it was challenging. Some things are sometimes confusing at first but as you practice you get better at them. Karla also says she enjoyed the learner profile emphasis of the IB because it was helping her become a better student and an active member of her learning community. She wishes she could have continued her IB learning.
“What I enjoyed the most at the academy was studying language and literature and technology because this is the key to continue learning. I like learning about grammar and ways to write better. I also love reading books not just reading them but also finding the value they have and analyzing them so that I can understand what they are about.”
Studying at the Forum Academy was a great opportunity. I met new people and shared with colleagues and friends. Being at the Academy helped me realize that I have many talents and that I could share these talents with others. In the beginning, it was quite challenging to get used to the new way of learning, and a new daily routine. Little by little I got used to expressing my ideas and becoming an inquiring student, not afraid to think critically and ask questions. The truth is, it was an amazing experience, I learned so many things that are now essential to me. What I recall the most was the feeling of companionship; we learned to work as a group.” This is perhaps one of the most valuable lessons the Academy has helped instill in several generations of students.
Karla is now back in San Miguelito studying at Instituto Dr. Alfredo Canton, her former school, where she has had to adapt to the different methodology that is used at the school. “ I thought this was going to be a difficult experience because it was at the middle of the school year, taking into account the start of the school year I had had very different classes at the academy, it was a jarring experience to be transferred, but little by little I got used to my classes and my new school mates and teachers, using what I had already learned and my own learning and sharing with my fellow students.
“For me, virtual learning has been something new, different from what we were used to when we had in-person classes, but in spite of the pandemic, I don’t feel like my learning has been affected. What I think is great about this opportunity is that both the teachers and students are learning.”
Encouraged by Profesor Omaira Martinez, Karla applied for a scholarship, and after getting to know her, it is no surprise.
“I was amazed at the opportunity to get the scholarship to participate in the national robotics and steam olympics. I never thought I would have this opportunity.” She excitedly explains that the scholarship will help herself and others, to develop technology competencies in the area of steam and robotics, like programming for example. “There is even hope that we might be able to participate in the international robotics and steam olympics.”
Like everything else in our lives, this event will be held virtually. Other events like The FIRST Lego League and the World Robot Olympics were canceled. But Karla explains FUNDESTEAM has designed a platform with software that will allow for the competitions to be carried out virtually. The Virtual Robot Games participants not only learn to compete they also learn a great deal about programing codes, commands, and problem-solving when faced with challenges. Karla recognizes these competencies as core principles of STEAM education. As she herself says “this is an opportunity for students to develop into professionals that can then develop solutions for world problems.
Forum Foundation is committed to supporting exceptional students like Karla, so that they successfully complete high school and go on to university and lifelong learning.