Josh S. was going to be on the advanced track at traditional high school had he ended up going to school there.
The chance to go to the STEM Academy at Martin High School changed his course.
“It’s more challenging than normal high school classes but it also presents the opportunity to challenge yourself a lot more,” said Stidham, who is now a senior at the STEM Academy. “The program has opened the opportunity for me to do stuff like be on the solar car team. And last year I skipped calculus because I tested out of it out. Those are opportunities I wouldn’t have had at a traditional school.”
Traditional with a Twist
The STEM Academy is at a traditional high school at Martin, but the classes the students take could be considered traditional with a twist and then STEM based. Core classes are geared toward STEM and then there are the STEM-specific classes. Students at the STEM Academy can also have the traditional high school life by participating in extracurricular activities and clubs.
Since the academy started in 2015, the success has been astounding. The incoming freshman class in 2015-16 was supposed to be 100 students but because there were so many quality applicants that number grew. More than 400 students applied for the 2019-20 freshman class with more than 160 getting accepted, which puts the current enrollment at 507 students.
And why wouldn’t a student who has a love for STEM want to go to the AISD Stem Academy? The opportunities are endless:
- Trips to NASA
- Solar Car Team
- Robo Boat Team
- Artificial Intelligence
The first graduating class last year was highlighted by two students getting accepted to MIT.
“A lot of our programs and the direction our program has gone is because the students have taken it that way,” said Marianne Varner, who has been the co-coordinator of the academy with Michele Davda since it started. “We have a solar car program because they asked to do it. And a leadership conference because they wanted it. They drive our main programs.”
While the STEM Academy provides great opportunities for students, they also have to be prepared for a workload that’s heavier than a traditional high school. For senior Ashley G., the biggest adjustment to the STEM Academy came with time management.
Once Ashley figured that out, the decision to apply to the STEM Academy became more than worth it.
Leave the Comfort Zone Behind
“It’s a challenge,” Ashley said. “I’ve always been the type of person who never stepped out of my comfort zone and played it safe. When I heard about this opportunity, I knew it was an opportunity to challenge myself as a person and as a student to get ready for college and the future.”
If the STEM Academy at Martin High School sounds like the right opportunity for you, apply here. You can also find out more information about the academy and all of the specialized programs available in the Arlington ISD.