The official student news site of Athens Drive High School


The official student news site of Athens Drive High School


The official student news site of Athens Drive High School


New year new plans: A glimpse into the Athens Drive STEM Academy

Photos by Sophie King
STEM Board Students hope to collect useful data using the school’s solar panel this year.

As education programs improve nationwide, many schools are starting to see value in STEM education. The STEM Academy at Athens Drive High School is no exception. Despite a large number of STEM teachers leaving, causing several gaps in the program, students and teachers alike hope for new and exciting projects this year for STEM students. 

From building a hydroponics system, to improving the STEM-Posium, the STEM Academy went through many changes in the 2022-2023 school year. 

“I think for a long time the STEM Academy was very focused on what the teachers [were] doing and wasn’t as focused on the student experience,” said Lauren Doran, STEM Coordinator. “That’s been an exciting thing for me to have as the frame…it gives to [students] and helps you develop.”

The STEM Board built the hydroponics system last school year, and STEM Academy students hope to continue to work on the project this school year. (Photos by Charlotte Holcombe)

Doran worked part time through the 22-23 school year, and was on maternity leave for much of the year. She is returning full time this year as both the STEM Coordinator and STEM Chemistry teacher.

“I feel really good being back in the classroom… I love being a mom so much but it’s also been really satisfying to be back, and in the classroom and working with students again,” said Doran.

Doran is just one of the few STEM staff changes this year. Shane Barry, former STEM Capstone teacher, and Heather Hafer, former Science Olympiad coach, are just two among many teachers that have left this year. 

“[Doran] is back full time which is awesome because it does feel like, you know we were doing the best we could last year but without our fearless leader… I feel like we have our train back on the right track,” Michaela Connors, STEM science teacher said. 

With the start of the year, Doran’s return opens doors for future STEM projects. Many have ideas they want to put into action, or passions they want to see come to life through STEM education.

“My brain child that I would love to be able to do is a benefit concert… take all of these classic songs that are really about the environment and you know intersperse educational materials related to the sustainable development goals in education,” Connors said.

A big part of the planning process comes from the STEM Board, a group of STEM Students who work to improve the academy.

“I can already feel like this year we will surely connect even deeper among the student body,” said Carolina Flores Lopez, STEM Board member. “We as the student board are excited to be planning some full of fun and hands-on learning opportunities for all students at Athens!”

All in all, everyone involved with STEM-related activities at Athens Drive see the value STEM education brings to their lives. For them, STEM education means hope for a future of well-rounded leaders ready to achieve great things and solve global problems.

“I think that [a benefit concert] would be valuable for not just the people doing it but also to encourage that we can get involved, we can make a difference, and education is a huge part of that,” said Connors.

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About the Contributor
Sophie King, Assistant Editor

Sophie King is a Junior at Athens Drive and is the Features editor for the Athens Oracle. She enjoys hanging out with friends, painting, and playing the piano and guitar. She hopes to shine a light on important things going on at Athens Drive through her work for the Oracle.