Joining together for the Nov. 5 ribbon-cutting ceremony are: (back row, from left) Ricky Cervantes and Kathy Miller of Aera, San Lucas Superintendent/Principal Jessica Riley, Will Franzell of Monterey County Office of Education, County Supervisor Chris Lopez, and San Lucas students (front row, from left) Savannah Flores, Kendra Rivera-Pelayo, Jazmyn Vidal-Lopez, Jesus Galeana-Fajardo, Vanessa Godoy and Jesus Fijar. (Marcos Alonzo/Contributed)

SAN LUCAS — Students and teachers celebrated the opening of a new makerspace on Nov. 5 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at San Lucas School, representing a renewed start after a challenging year of distance and in-person learning during the pandemic.

The makerspace is a place for students and teachers to learn, explore, experiment, collaborate and reconnect.

“The makerspace was designed to enable students to explore the freedom of a curious mind,” said Jessica Riley, principal of San Lucas School and superintendent of the San Lucas Union School District. “The makerspace can help students consider ways to help solve problems of the 21st century. The future is something they can be a part of and something they can change. It could all start here with a simple experiment.”

Former student Ricky Cervantes spoke at the event, sharing his thoughts with students about growing up in San Lucas and how lucky they were to be at a small school with teachers who can focus on their needs. Cervantes, who started out at San Lucas School as a kindergartener, is now a reliability specialist at Aera Energy in San Ardo. 

“I feel so blessed to have gone to school here,” Cervantes said to the students. “When things at school seem to get hard, you just have to try harder. There’s no future if you give up. Your education is important if you want to have a successful future and you have to focus on that every single day.”

Monterey County Supervisor Chris Lopez (right) speaks to the San Lucas students and community on Nov. 5. (Marcos Alonzo/Contributed)

The makerspace features a variety of hands-on science exhibits, craft materials and a 3-D printer donated by Aera Energy in support of education in rural southern Monterey County.

“There is something magical about a student envisioning a creation in their minds and then watching it become a reality, right before their eyes,” Riley said. “The 3-D printer not only exemplifies the commitment Aera has to supporting education, but now our students also have a new piece of technology that enables them to learn beyond what our regular curriculum materials can provide.”

The 3-D printer has already been put to good use. Shortly after the stay-at-home order closed schools in March 2020, the 3-D printer was fired up to create filters for face masks produced by the Monterey County Free Libraries to help overcome the shortage of personal protective equipment for local first responders.

Aera’s donation funded the initial purchase of the printer, as well as filament and other accessories. The Greenfield Community Science Mobile Lab and Monterey County Office of Education stepped in to provide training for teachers on using the 3-D printer and helped design activities for students to complete in the makerspace, such as introductory coding projects.

“It’s truly a space that has been made possible through the generosity of a community coming together to support local students, but it will do so much more,” Riley said. “Sometimes when you are living in a rural and removed area, it becomes easy to forget you are a part of a bigger world. The makerspace will enable our students to envision their place in a much bigger, global society.”

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


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