PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — The Student Advocacy Center is hosting a summer program this week called STEAMtastic Summer of Fun at Oscar Patterson Elementary School.

Throughout the week, students have learned about STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) fields.

There are two sessions throughout the summer, with each holding 20 students per session.

The first session runs through July 1. The second session begins July 12 and runs through Aug. 5.

Students have completed science experiments with slime and solar ovens. Using solar ovens, the students made s’mores for an experiment based on insulation. 

“It’s laying the groundwork for future computer scientists,” Greg Dossie, founder and director of the Student Advocacy Center said. 

The program chose Patterson Elementary School intentionally, as the school is planning to reopen in August 2022.

Patterson has been closed since Hurricane Michael and according to the half-cent sales tax measure, the school will be getting a new STEAM building and PE pavilion. However, officials say neither is currently scheduled for construction.

However, all of Oscar Pattern’s buildings but one are scheduled to undergo renovations.

By holding a summer STEM program, Dossie hopes that families in the area will be encouraged to send their children to Patterson once it reopens. 

“Everything is computers,” Dossie said. “From your phone to your cars, to your TVs, everything requires somebody in the STEAM field.”

Through a STEAM school and STEM building, Dossie expects more students to pursue careers in science fields. On Thursday, students lit light bulbs through gas tubes, where electrons jumped from the tube to the light bulbs. 

“In this area we have a lot of kids just ready for an opportunity to learn and to have a place right in their own neighborhood where they can learn, study science and also incorporate science into all the other aspects of their life,” Heather Ogilvie, a Bay County librarian said.