Above, the Northeast STEAMFest provides a wealth of resources for students interested in robotics. 

A catapult created by Vista del Valley Dual Language Academy launches tennis balls at STEAMFest.

Scores of schools and hundreds of visitors crowded the campus of Byrd Middle School in Sun Valley on Saturday for Local District Northeast’s second annual STEAMFest, showcasing the region’s innovative achievements in science, technology, engineering, arts and math education.

Campuses from every grade level were represented, from Haddon and Sylvan Park Early Education Centers, which are jump-starting preschoolers on their STEAM pathways, to Arleta and North Hollywood High schools, where aspiring engineers and computer scientists are honing their skills. The gym was transformed into a robotics area, with remote-controlled VEX and Lego robots zooming across the floor.

“We’e coming together to show what our students can accomplish,” said Local District Superintendent Linda Del Cueto. “We are so proud of the career pathways and themes that are preparing them for the future.”

Teacher Oscar Rios helps students in the STEAMFest robotics area.

Many schools offered visitors the opportunity to try STEAM-related activities on their own. Kids built balloon-powered cars at the Fernangeles Elementary School booth, launched a tennis ball from a catapult built by Vista del Valley Dual-Language Academy and rolled marbles down “slowcoasters” erected by students at Noble Avenue Elementary.

Young band and orchestra musicians from Byrd Middle School entertained the crowds while their classmates showed off their fingerprints, shoeprints and other forensics experiments – real-world applications of the lessons that students are learning.

Arleta High junior Christian Sy uses his budding engineering skills to erect weight-bearing bridges out of popsicle sticks.

At the Arleta High School booth, junior Chrisian Sy showed off bridges he’s erected from popsicle sticks that are built to withstand more than 1,000 pounds.

“I want to be a civil engineer or work in aerospace,” said Sy, who hopes that his success in his physics and Advanced Placement calculus classes will gain him entrance to Cal Poly Pomona.

Inside the gym, Oscar Rios, a fifth-grade teacher at Stanley Mosk Elementary School, helped kids program their robots as they practiced for the upcoming Rally in the Valley robotics competition.

“This event is all about the kids,” Rios said. “It shows they are getting the hands-on coding and engineering lessons they need for the future.”

Speaking to the crowd as the event opened, School Board Member Kelly Gonez praised the rigor and innovation of the schools’ high-tech curriculum, noting that it is preparing students to be part of the modern global workforce. School Board Member Scott Schmerelson focused on the opportunities for girls to train for high-paying STEM careers.

“Girls,” he told them, “This is your chance to shine.”

Click here to watch a KLCS-TV video of the Northeast STEAMFest.