Eat pasta, help students in need

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COEUR d’ALENE — Fernan STEM Academy is hosting its inaugural STEMghetti Dinner and Auction at 6 this evening in the Coeur d'Alene Eagles lodge.

Guests will receive a complimentary drink ticket and be served a gourmet pasta dinner by Le Catering Co. and Chef Adam Hegsted. Gluten-free options will be available.

Radical Rick of Extreme Science, featured weekly on KHQ, will dazzle attendees with a live science show.

Several items will be raffled, including more than 100 bottles of wine and a tailgate-themed prize with beer, coolers, barbecue, games and more. Silent and live auctions will also be featured.

Fernan has more than 400 students. More than half receive free or reduced lunch.

"We developed the mantra that poverty is not an excuse for failure and that poverty disappears when a child walks through our doors," said Bill Rutherford, former principal. "Becoming a STEM academy allows every student to receive an excellent education, no matter his or her background."

At Fernan, students are taught to think critically, ask questions, define problems, develop and use models, carry out investigations and analyze and interpret data. These concepts empower the young learners to construct explanations and design solutions to real-world problems.

Fernan has a dedicated STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) lab and teacher that classes access weekly. The school has a large outdoor garden, solar panels, aquaponics system and makerspace with 3D printer. Fernan offers two STEM nights a year that focus on bringing science into the school for students and families.

Dr. Alyssa Shaw of Family Health Associates is also a Fernan mom who has had opportunities to go to the school and present lessons on anatomy, health and disease prevention.

"What impresses me most is that these kids are learning to think like scientists," Shaw said. "They are not just absorbing information but instead listening, processing what they hear, organizing that information in their minds and then asking sound questions based on the predictions they are generating. Across the grades I see teachers turning discussions back to kids so that they can think things through rather than just feeding them the right answers. It’s a skill most of us don’t develop until a much later age."

Much of Fernan’s STEM equipment and curriculum are purchased through grants and fundraisers because of limited state funding.

The Coeur d’Alene Eagles is located at 209 Sherman Ave.

Tickets to the STEMghetti event are $30 per person and $50 per couple. They can be purchased at the door or at www.eventbrite.com.

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