STEM and Leadership
Two of the growing academic programs that set CBC apart
CBC junior Ryan Murphy will always remember the November afternoon when he and his classmates had the opportunity to speak with Mr. Dave Peacock. The former President of Anheuser-Busch was in the midst of leading our city's NFL Stadium Task Force planning when he visited CBC to speak with 27 juniors in our Leadership Program.
"We were very surprised he could find time in his busy schedule to come and talk to a group of high school kids," Murphy said. "It made me realize how special a place CBC is and how many opportunities we are blessed with here at school."
Peacock is one of several influential leaders who have given time to speak with Leadership class students since the course was introduced seven years ago. Other regular guest speakers include Build-A-Bear founder Maxine Clark, World Wide Technology co-founder and chairman David Steward and Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Mark Hertling, a CBC graduate who had more than 100,000 troops under his command during his military career.
Between Leadership class and more than 250 leadership positions available to students, CBC already offers a strong compliment of options that prepare Cadets to lead.
"We want every person on our campus to be equipped with the tools to lead," McGraw explained. "Every school preaches that same goal, but CBC is deliberate in teaching principles and strategies that our students will use throughout their lives. Everyone will be speaking a common language of leadership, and all in our community will have a shared understanding of what it takes to lead for life."
The program's résumé will grow significantly over the next several years under the direction of Mr. Sean McGraw. The first step in the plan is a freshman level course that has been added for the upcoming year.
The freshman elective course was the idea of this year's Leadership class and constructed throughout the semester by Mr. McGraw and the students. The feedback from incoming students and families has been very positive, as they see the value in formally introducing leadership skills as early as possible.
As the program continues to grow McGraw sees a four year progression that will culminate in seniors applying their skills in real-world situations.
"We want to develop relationships with businesses, charities and corporate partners that will give our students a chance to test what they've learned through internships and mentor relationships. The support of our alums, parents and friends who can help us connect with these opportunities is key to our success."
CBC STEM Academy
The move toward connecting our students with industry professionals is also a key goal of the CBC STEM Academy.
Mr. Joe Henken and Mrs. Andrea Mahon lead our current offerings, and a plan is in place to further expand the courses and co-curricular opportunities available across several departments, including Math, Science, Business and Fine & Performing Arts. Courses such as Principles of Engineering, Robotics and Game Programming already connect students with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) principles that prepare our young men for career success in the technological and dynamic professional world that awaits them.
"Today's students will be working in professions that haven't even been created yet, so the goal is to get our guys the experience they need to become creative thinkers and problem solvers," Henken explained. "We're focused on hands-on learning that crosses all educational disciplines and breaks the rules of old-fashioned classrooms -- and our students love it!"
One major step forward is the introduction of CBC's own Makerspace. This is a work room specifically designed for students who want to invent, build, test, experiment and innovate. It will include tools like 3-D printers, Arduino microcontrollers, Matlab coding capability and other tools used for design and experimentation. Plans for this STEM space are in work and more information will be announced in the coming months.
Henken spent time as an Aerospace and Systems engineer before returning to the classroom, and he sees great benefit in connecting students with industry professionals.One of Henken's key goals is to supplement the on-campus learning with real-world experience. CBC's three Robotics teams already benefit from the support of industry mentors from IBM and MasterCard, and the plan is to grow a similar relationship with Boeing through an upcoming glider design competition.
"We want our guys to walk in the shoes of real engineers. When I was their age I knew I wanted to be an engineer - but I'll be honest, I had no idea what that meant," Henken said. "These experiences will help them identify their real passions and refine their career paths before they even get to college."