Technology is everywhere — it is entwined in almost every part of our daily life. We see its application in emails, such as in Gmail’s Smart Reply, which gives users automated suggestions when responding to emails. We use games, mobile apps, and various operating systems to help us to work, study, or be entertained. The push notifications we get when a friend has tagged or commented on our social media posts keep us glued to these platforms.
All these were created with the help of individuals from the science and tech disciplines. Tech careers are one of the fastest-growing jobs of the future, and a future talent pipeline is needed as we dive deeper into the Fourth Industrial Revolution. A technology-driven education can mould future leaders in the field, which means science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects will become increasingly critical in our competitive world.
To ensure today’s students are poised for the future of work, an early introduction to STEM education can give students an edge — something which Mount Pisgah Academy (MPA) provides and more. MPA is a Seventh-day Adventist boarding school for grades nine to 12, located in Candler, North Carolina. The School aims to provide a well-balanced spiritual, academic, physical, and social education in a Christ-centred environment that promotes the restoration of God’s image in each student.
At MPA, students learn about STEM in classrooms with low student-teacher ratios. They have laptops in place of heavy textbooks. Their excellent academic programme integrates the latest technology; students can expect to learn about coding, robotics, and 3D printing, among other things, by caring teachers. As a testament to their future-forward approach, the academy is working towards making virtual reality (VR) the next big technology push on campus.
MPA also offers a one-to-one laptop programme where each student is issued a Dell Laptop to use while enrolled at the School. Despite its focus on technology, students don’t learn in silos. Peek inside a classroom and you’ll see an intimate group of passionate students and teachers discussing and analysing things with enthusiasm.
Despite the pivotal role technology plays in educating students at MPA, inappropriate use of technology can be a cause for concern. In light of this, the School has protective software and technology in place to guide students towards making good choices while using the internet.
Gearing the body, mind, and spirit for future success
MPA uses Google Classroom, a platform that helps streamline assignments, boost collaboration, and foster classroom communication. It also acts as a digital organiser where students can easily access class materials by teachers. The academy also produces its own MPA news programme that incorporates the latest technology in creating each episode.
Realising that a dedicated space would help the School educate students for God’s service through STEM led to the development of their brand-new Louie Parra STEM Laboratory in April. The project received funds from a variety of organisations through grants. Today, students benefit from the new STEM laboratory that is fully equipped with computers for coding, robotics equipment, two 3D printers, and soldering equipment, among others.
While academic success is paramount at MPA, there’s so much more to each day than time spent in the classroom. Through co-curricular activities, students can build new skills and lifelong passions, make new friends, and develop fresh ways to serve the community. The School offers music programmes such as the choir, bells and a symphony orchestra to develop their musical abilities. Students can choose from various sports, including acrobatics, basketball, soccer, and volleyball, to keep fit and develop soft skills such as teamwork and cooperation.
Students also have numerous opportunities for spiritual development at the School through dorm worships, Friday vespers, church services, school-wide mission trips, student-led worships, and youth rallies. This helps students find renewed excitement about pursuing a relationship with Christ. Echoing this is MPA student Jesus , who says: “Since coming to MPA, my relationship with God has gotten a lot stronger. I’ve learned who God is to me.”
All of this takes place in a 230-acre campus with a picture-postcard view of the Southern Appalachians and the 5,721-foot peak of Mount Pisgah. “What I enjoy most about being on campus is the really fun atmosphere, always surrounded by friends and everyone knows each other,” says 11th grader student, Alison. “The campus is very unique and I get to see the mountains from my room. It makes me really happy.”