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Furnace Woods Students Learn the Possibilities of STEAM

An Apple AirTag was hidden in a bin on the floor and a small cell phone was stowed in a bookcase along the far wall. For Harley, a cyber dog with the Westchester County Police Department, both items were easy to find. Within seconds, she enjoyed her reward: First praise, then treats.

Furnace Woods Elementary School hosted STEAM Career Day on March 28, 2024.

Students in the library at Furnace Woods Elementary School were clearly impressed. It was one thing to hear about Harley’s skills — which allow her to detect thumb drives, SD cards, hard drives, and other electronic devices — but another to see them in action.

There were actually two dogs, along with their police handlers, and a host of other special visitors when the school hosted STEAM Career Day on Thursday, March 28. The full-day, building-wide event introduced students to careers related to the fields of science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.

“Days like this are great for so many reasons,” said STEAM teacher Megan Boyle, who arranged the event, which featured 16 different presentations. “I really wanted kids to see all of the opportunities that STEAM can create. Sometimes they think it’s just sitting in front of a computer writing code all day, but there are so many more options.”

Furnace Woods Elementary School hosted STEAM Career Day on March 28, 2024.

Boyle said the presenters were all community members, many of them the parents of students. It creates a connection between the school and the Hendrick Hudson community while opening up the minds of students to their future possibilities.

The presentation topics included: Marketing and Development; Film Production; Software Engineering; Statistics; Cyber Security; Emergency Medical Services (EMS); eGaming; Athletic Training; Banking; and Marine Ecology. There was also an artist, a musician, a radio host, and an author.

Ken Gilleo, a School Safety Officer in Hendrick Hudson, delivered the EMS presentation in a side parking lot. From the back of a Croton-on-Hudson EMS truck, Gilleo showed students how technology has become such an important component of EMS work, whether it’s the simple or the complex.

“They love this,” Gilleo said. “There is so much technology involved in the EMS field now. Here they get to see the equipment in action.”

Students were fascinated with the high-tech LUCAS device, a chest compression system that can perform mechanical CPR. Gilleo explained how the machine worked, then turned it on to demonstrate.

The presentation in the FWS gym could be heard around the school. Simon Boyar, an FWS parent who owns a music school in Croton, brought percussion instruments to play for students.

Boyar and his son, Ben, banged on drums as well as a few unique instruments, one of which was a gold-keyed vibraphone. A few students were invited to join them and experience the instruments first-hand, playing alongside the Boyars.

Boyle raved about what she saw from the Career Day presenters who volunteered their time.

“These presenters were amazing,” she said. “They brought hands-on activities for the students to explore all opportunities. Hopefully this brings some perspective to the kids about what we learn in school and what that can look like in the real world.”