The Catholic Commentator

In one corner of the gym, a drone was flying near the ceiling. In an upstairs lab, a young scientist was mixing the ingredients to create a lava lamp. Another area was marked off with caution tape as two men in protective gear demonstrated the power of electricity. 

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Students watch a drone flying in the gym as part of a community-wide event celebrating science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Photos by Bonny Van | The Catholic Commentator


For an hour-and-a-half, the Holy Family Church Parish Hall in Port Allen was turned into one giant laboratory featuring activities related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).  

Annie Cagle, technology coordinator and instructor at Holy Family School, came up with the idea of making STEM Night a community event so that others could see how science and math apply to day-to-day life.  

“STEM is my passion and I wanted kids to explore what careers were available to them,” said Cagle. “And, I wanted them to see the practical purposes in how STEM might be applied in real life. We can tell them they need algebra but this shows them why.”  

Twenty-three businesses and organizations set up booths for students, parents and visitors to see, experience and interact with science, math and technology. Cagle said she wanted to include the community in the event as well, spreading word of the event through announcements at Mass, the church bulletin, online, newspaper ads and “a lot of word of mouth.”  

“I think it’s exciting,” said Kerika Lily, whose son Jaylin is a second-grader at Holy Family. “He (Jaylin) made us leave the house early so we could be here.”  

“I think it’s pretty awesome,” said Ory Gulotta, who visited each of the stations with his son Carter, a kindergartener at the school.  

“It was great to see such a diverse group of companies and organizations represented at STEM Night, there truly was something of interest for everyone,” said Mike Comeau, Holy Family principal . “I watched our kids grow in their understanding and application of science concepts and become excited at all of the things that are cool about science, technology, engineering and math. You could tell that all of the students felt seen, heard, and powerful due to the knowledge they were able to learn and share with their peers.” 

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Workers from Entergy demonstrate the power of electricity.

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Third-grader Allie Landry concentrates on mixing up the ingredients to create a lava lamp. 

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Nate Lacinak, fifth grade, and his sister, Emma Lacinak, third grade, learn how to make slime at STEM Night.  

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First-grader Skylar Townsend reacts with excitement after seeing a shark close-up through virtual reality goggles during STEM Night at Holy Family School in Port Allen.

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Students build with Legos at the robotics station.

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PreK student Beau Guerin, left, and his brother, Bryce Guerin, a third-grader, work on computer programs during Holy Family’s STEM Night. Behind them, seventh-graders Ronnie Horn, left, and Landon Juneau eat ice cream they made at one of the experiment stations. 

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Vance Arnold, a second-grader at Holy Family School in Port Allen, watches an experiment during STEM Night.