This past Saturday afternoon, more than 40 parents, volunteers and friends gathered at the Amundsen High School Auditorium to cheer for their favorite team in the Lumity STEM Saturdays competition. There were three teams of students, made up of rising seniors and recent high school graduates from Amundsen High School and Chicago Math & Science Academy. Each team presented the final project they’ve been working on for the past 12 weeks. With the help of volunteer coaches from Accenture, Allstate and GE Capital, these 13 students established a client relationship with local organizations, created a statement of work, established deliverables and implemented a plan to enhance the client’s web presence.

Each group gave a presentation about their project, along with lessons learned and a demo of the website they created. The panel of judges were extremely impressed with the student’s work. In fact, the point difference between the three teams was so small, the judges suggested that each student in the other two teams also receive scholarship funds.

The All Stars, coached by Accenture employees, took first place by a small margin, followed by the TC Generators, coached by GE Capital employees, and VolunTech, coached by Allstate employees. Each member of the first place team received $1,000 and the remaining students, much to their surprise and delight, received $500 each!

While the judges were deliberating, the audience was treated to Master of Ceremonies, Dominic Basso, interacting with the audience and asking questions of the students, coaches, clients and parents. The two biggest takeaways for the students were how to listen to others and how to adapt when things didn’t go as planned.  The teams learned how to trust and rely on one another and made sure to pull their own weight to achieve team goals and meet deadlines.

Judges from left to right: Cathie Kozik, PSAV; Steve Battreall, GE Capital; Howard Tullman, 1871; Steve Betts, HCSC; Greg Burns, Allstate; and Mike Scimo, Accenture.

One coach pointed out the students’ ability to “take it and run with it.” When given advice or instructions, the students didn’t require a lot of hand-holding or follow-up. They were able to get to work and try it out for themselves.

Another coach expressed why she chose to give up several hours each Saturday to spend with students. “Technology is not too difficult if you just give it a try. More students need to give it a try.”

Parents of a student thanked Kara Kennedy over and over for offering the program because they saw an incredible change in their daughter. They didn’t recognize her after a few weeks in the program.

Lumity provides these programs with support from corporate and government grants and from individual donors, like you. You can add your support by clicking here.