JUNE 14, 2017 (COLUMBIA, S.C.): Students in the Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM) program at Southeast Middle School (Southeast) got a chance to be hands-on this year in an all-new way: the arts.

With the injection of the arts into its STEM program – a program done in partnership with EngenuitySC, now in its second year – more students are able to be hands-on and learn classroom material in alternative ways. The Artist in Residence program is one of those.

“Our overall goal for the students of Southeast Middle is to build a culture of excellence,” said school Principal Inger Ferguson. “The culture is built by educating the whole child, through academics, sports, and the arts. The Artist in Residence program is a pathway for reaching all students because it builds their interest and allows their talents to shine inside and outside of the classroom.”

The Artist in Residence program engaged three artists over the course of the year.  

The first, a local artist, Terrance Henderson, integrated science into theater for eighth grade students. Henderson used the four biological eras of the Earth as the foundation for theatrical presentations where students explored stage theater basics such as acting, projection, and blocking/staging. Teamwork, focus and concentration, and the use of the body and voice as a creative instruments were other skills learned through Henderson’s instruction.

Anita Singleton Prather – also known as “Aunt Pearlie Sue” – was the second artist in the program lineup. Students learned about plantation life pre- and post-Civil War and the contributions of these former enslaved people, as well as The Civil Rights Movement and its key leaders, through song, discussion and movement.

The third and final installment of the Artist in Residence program was delivered by Stacey Ridgeway in a session dubbed “Mural Mural on the Wall.” Students observed and participated in the painting of the school’s mascot in a new mural, which evoked school spirit and pride.

“The Artist in Residence program is such an energizing way for students to learn in unexpected ways,” said Meghan Hickman, Executive Director of EngenuitySC. “Without a doubt, our partners are the secret sauce. They bring learning to life, and as a community partner, it’s just a delight to see these students embrace the experience.”

All Southeast students participated in the STEAM-inspired club programming this year and over 250 got the unique Artist in Residence experience.

In a recently-released video highlighting the Artist in Residence program, students discuss how beneficial this program was in creating memorable and sustainable classroom lessons, as well as boosting confidence and enthusiasm for learning. 

“We’re giving students an opportunity to learn new concepts and traditional curriculum in a unique and exciting way by integrating the core subjects with the performing arts at Southeast Middle School,” said Southeast STEAM Coordinator Yolanda Daniels. “This enables students to re-enhance the information they are learning inside the classroom as well as allows them to grow and become confident in themselves as learners for their future,”

In addition to Southeast Middle School, EngenuitySC is also partnered with Lower Richland High School and Hopkins Middle School in Richland County School District One. The initial partnership, which originated with LRHS, began in 2013.

About EngenuitySC and the Lower Richland STEAM Program  

EngenuitySC is proud to partner with three schools in Richland County School District One, including Lower Richland High, Hopkins Middle and Southeast Middle Schools. Since the partnership commenced in June 2013, EngenuitySC has focused on exposing students, teachers and parents to the opportunities associated with STEM careers. Thanks to collaboration with industry, higher education and community partners, EngenuitySC has helped bring hands-on STEM experiences, soft skills development and entrepreneurial activities into the halls of all three schools.