Linda DeMasi helps coordinate the event and said with new technologies popping up globally and in the local area, maintaining students' interest in their formative years is even more important.
"Starting in the middle school years, there's a decline in interest of sciences; other things come up. We thought this might be a way to rekindle or keep that interest going if they could see all the many ways science is applied. Doing it in class is one thing but trying to make a connection to outside world [is another]," said DeMasi, who is president of Shenendehowa Advocates for Gifted Education [SAGE].
The event is always free, she said, and the district's technology, science and health departments have come on board to make sure it stays that way. She said exhibitors include some local businesses and teachers who have the same level of excitement as the kids. There will be a business focusing on robotics, the Nanotech College, a local engineering firm showing 3D modeling, Odyssey of the Mind program, museums and more.
The first year attracted about 700 attendees, last year saw close to 1,000 and this year SAGE hopes to reach a number somewhere between the two.
"The kids are very engaged. We have more flight simulators coming because of the demand for them. There are a lot of hands on exhibits and kids are just lined up to participate. I spend the evening watching and get to see the level of engagement and learning while having fun," said DeMasi. "We need to keep an interest in science because with New York being looked at as a tech valley corridor we have to grow resources for jobs that will be available."
Clifton Park as a town will also get in on the Earth Day spirit with its fourth Town Paper Shredding Day on Sunday, April 18, from 1 to 3 p.m. in the Clifton Park Center parking lot near Dunkin Donuts. The shredded paper will be recycled and sold to a local paper products company.