SMS receive benches, picnic tables, mentorship from Honeywell
March 4, 2016
Thomas R. Throssell
Sacaton school grounds were abuzz with activity as volunteers from Honeywell Hometown Solutions in partnership with Rebuilding Together Valley of the Sun installed benches and picnic tables at both Sacaton Middle School and Sacaton Elementary School on the morning of Feb. 27.
Custom-made cabinetry was also installed at SMS to properly house LEGO robots used in the school’s extremely popular STEM Robotics club.
While the new installations provided by Honeywell are a useful addition to both Sacaton schools, they are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the support Honeywell has provided to the students over the years.
For the past two years, engineers from Honeywell have been volunteering their time and knowledge to the students of SMS’s STEM Robotics club.
“We have a group that has been volunteering…to help with the [STEM Robotics] competition,” said David Bluestein, Honeywell senior mechanical engineer. “This is teaching the kids math and science through the programming of LEGO robots.”
Bluestein, who has been with Honeywell for 36 years, said that volunteering his time to help SMS students isn’t just to give a helping hand, it’s personal.
“To me it really is a case where…a small effort on our part can make a big difference in their lives,” he said.
“I think about when I was growing up and had no money and there were some mentors in my life who directed me towards engineering.”
The volunteers are not only teaching students about math and science they are also providing the type of life mentorship that positively influenced Bluestein’s life—mentorship that helped Bluestein accomplish his goals and become an engineer.
“I was able to put myself through college, become an engineer…and now give back a little bit,” he said.
Over a dozen Honeywell volunteers, who come from a variety of engineering branches, come to SMS and work with the STEM Robotics club members in the school’s gymnasium for several hours every other Saturday.
The engineers teach the students how to program their LEGO robots to accomplish different challenges, from fast-paced drone obstacle courses to precise maze challenges.
On those busy Saturday mornings, both students and Honeywell engineers can be found in the school’s gymnasium, huddled together over laptop computers discussing how best to navigate their next challenge.