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Akiba's Engineering a New Elective

August 18, 2005 By:
Jared Shelly, JE Feature
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Members of Akiba Hebrew Academy’s fairly new engineering club include (from left) Elad Golan, Karen Pendrak, Sarah Saltz, Shira Palti and science teacher Kathleen Saltz.

Students don't usually ask school administrators to add another class to the overall curriculum, but at Akiba Hebrew Academy, overwhelming interest was the driving force behind creating the institution's new engineering elective.

The students' new-found fascination with the subject started last school year with the debut of the school's engineering club. The half-dozen or so members spent their extracurricular time engaged in the study of rocketry.

By the end of the year, they had built and launched rockets of all sizes, and specifically asked if they could take engineering as an accredited class.

"At this time, we have 13 students who will take the class," said science-department chair Rhonda August. "With 57 kids in the graduating class, proportionally, that's a nice size, considering that we have five science electives."

The first day of the 2005-06 academic year at Akiba begins on Thursday, Sept. 8.

According to August, the new engineering program may sway a student to major in the field once they move on to college.

"It's to expose our students to opportunities that they may not have thought of," she said. "Students who have a strong interest can then pursue careers in the sciences."

In addition to being excited over having students who want to learn something new, August is especially proud of the high proportion of females who have enrolled in the course, given engineering's profile as a mostly male profession.

"It's half girls!" she practically announced. "The girls feel equally comfortable in these areas."

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