Student Perspectives

"Attending STEM School Chattanooga has been a life changing experience for me. My freshman year challenged me the most. It was hard to transition from a normal teaching environment to an environment where I was pushed, to my fullest extent, daily. My junior and senior years have been very rewarding. I have had the opportunity to enroll in dual enrollment, at Chattanooga State and earn my high school and college credits. This unique opportunity has allowed me to have an advantage over incoming college freshman. Not to mention, PBLs have also allowed me to make connections with local companies within Chattanooga. I have worked with numerous companies including: Volkswagen, Hunter Museum, EPB and many others. STEM has provided me with a one-of-a-kind experience, one that you cannot find anywhere else." Brandon Camp, Class of 2016

"Attending STEM School Chattanooga has prepared me for the real world. I have learned how to juggle a heavy workload and how to manage my time effectively. When I started college classes in 11th grade, I could handle them with ease. The school has taught me how to learn and be engaged, even in a topic I don't particularly enjoy. I have learned real life skills through unique experiences that can't be taught through a textbook. STEM School Chattanooga is more than a school that teaches a curriculum, it teach you real life skills." Emily Varner, Class of 2016

"Thanks to the STEM's focus on new-aged education in aspects such as coding, I now have the capability to hold conversations with experts in the field of computer programming.  I'm not limited in whom I can speak.  The STEM School has provided me with the confidence and skill I need to present to anyone." Alex Rolph, Class of 2016

"Attending the Stem school has taught me that in life you have to do things that you don't want to do at work, home, etc.. The PBL's weren't all easy or a piece of cake but I got through it. Being the first graduating class there has been trial and error and it's also taught me that things are never perfect, but you can perfect them. There's never going to be a time where you can't improve on something because there is always a way to make things better than what they are no matter how good you think it is." Vienna Spratling, Class of 2016

"Where do you go to school? What does Stem stand for? Isn't that a plant? You have to be smart to go there, right? Those were the countless questions I've been asked for the last four years. I, Marketta Collins, attend Stem School Chattanooga.  STEM stands for science technology engineering and mathematics. We are definitely not a plant and you do not have to be a genius. All that they ask is that you try. The Stem School is a place where you build off of failure to make up success. There are countless number of times that our teachers have sent students out on challenging missions knowing that we would fail. However, it wasn't to be mean. It was so that we can learn from it and improve for next time. I used to say that I wished I went to a regular high school, but now I love Stem. Stem is a family outside of my own family. We make sure we never leave anybody behind just because we're all new to this adjusted learning environment." Marketta Collins, Class of 2016

"It's been tough being the first graduating class at STEM. From being "guinea pigs" for unheard of programs, to intense workloads designed for college prep, it's been tough. Don't get me wrong; it's been worth it. Being guinea pigs has allowed us to create our own environment, one in which we're all comfortable and feel at home. We've weeded out the things we hated in the beginning, and created a school that I'm in no hurry to leave. The large workloads means that my college classes have been easy compared to STEM work. STEM has taught me how to persevere, how to withstand the rain until the sun shines through." Bobby Mosier, Class of 2016

"Here at STEM, we're constantly trying, failing, learning, and then finding success. Through testing our ideas we found that sometimes we were successful and sometimes we failed. These challenges had a positive impact on how I view the world around me. This school has prepped me in every way for the real world. I'm glad I decided to stay here all these years. Before coming to this school I had incredible social anxiety where I couldn't talk to anyone. When I did talk, I struggled with what to say. Here at STEM I learned how to give correct and professional presentations. Now I'm able to hold a full conversation with business executives. Although this school is still new, we have tried multiple ideas.  We learned from all of those past failed ideas which made this school and its students stronger." Drew Herrmann, Class of 2016

"STEM has really helped open some doors for me. Of course, all of them have had my hand on the knob. Anyway, one of those doors was at Volkswagen. We had a partnership with them for a unit of work, part of that unit being a presentation on an idea to "Think Blue" at our school. The best three presentations were given the opportunity to present at Volkswagen to several employees. I was part of one of those groups. When the day came, we killed our presentation on biodiesel. Because one of the employees liked it and was involved in a project directly related to biodiesel, he invited us to join in. One of my teammates and I were invited to a full board meeting for the project, where we spoke like everyone else. There's no telling what might come of that, and what opportunities were opened further." Noah Hamlen, Class of 2016

"When I first found out that I was eligible to attend STEM School for my 10th grade year, I was a little shocked, maybe even worried. I had never switched schools before like this, and I would be leaving the friends I had made at my old school behind. But after learning more about the school, I decided to take a leap of faith.  I'm sure glad I did. The way STEM operates is so different from other schools in Hamilton County, and in a very positive way. Having everything you need in one place, electronically, is such a big deal and easier than carrying around binders and textbooks. Learning here is also at your own pace. If you're struggling, you can get help. If you're advancing ahead, you can work ahead in the curriculum. The program here at this school is so dynamic and exciting. I would recommend it to everyone." Tyler Benjamin, Class of 2017

"Real working situations often require people to work in groups, but can they cope with this type of situation? Many schools don't prepare students for working in a group setting, and that hurts their ability to work in real world situations. When students enter the work force they are expected to work with others, and end up falling short. This is a problem and STEM School Chattanooga is the solution.  In our STEM School students are constantly forced to work in groups. Every project is long term, and students never work alone. The difficult task of having to contend with other people's personalities while also getting work done is near impossible, but students at the STEM School do it daily and do it well. They are thrown in real world like situations with real world like deadlines, and have learned to bring amazing results. After working in these carefully crafted group settings they have to present those sometimes embarrassing, yet extraordinary results, forcing the best out them.  Instead of the silence and solitude that most schools require their students to work in, the STEM School encourages socializing and uses it to get more work done. It's time to give up on keeping children's social energies behind bars, and start using them productively. It teaches children skills that they can actually use instead of just general knowledge giving them a leg-up in the business world." Chase Brown, Class of 2017