F. K. White student completes UT STEM program - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

F. K. White student completes UT STEM program

(Source: Renee Smith) (Source: Renee Smith)
LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

A recent graduate of F. K. White Middle School in Lake Charles just came back from a once-in-a-lifetime experience, proving that dedication and hard work pays off.

13-year-old Cassie Bush embarked on a trip that’s completely out of this world...

The National Youth Leadership Forum at the University of Texas, a six-day STEM program meant to introduce students to careers based in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

“This program literally has the capability to change their life and help them realize what’s open to them, where they can go with hard work, and that was important,” said Cassie’s math teacher, Renee Smith.

Smith nominated Cassie for this program, and not just because of her stellar grades...

“One of the most important things is not giving up and continuing to try and that's the kind of student Cassie is,” said Smith.

Smith describes Cassie as an incredibly positive and hardworking student. It was no question to her that she would nominate Cassie - she just had to come up with the funds in three months.

But she says the community was more than happy to help fund a trip that would make this summer so very special for Cassie.

“I was ecstatic,” said Cassie. “First, I was shocked believing out of all the people in the school I was chosen for this, but then I kind of felt happy for myself.”

Not only did this trip provide Cassie with the opportunity to meet other students just as driven as her, it really opened up her eyes to the possibilities she has in her future studies and career paths.

“This project that my teacher opened up for me made me decide on my career choices of engineering and robotics and medicine,” said Cassie. “I still want to be a veterinarian, because I love animals.”

Providing opportunities to work on programming Mars rovers and even speaking with a veteran astronaut and other accomplished professionals in STEM-related fields, the program inspired young Cassie and made her parents proud.

We’re super-duper proud,” said her mother, Peggy Bush. “Their whole entire lives we talked about how school is so important - a good career, college…to see things start to happen, to pave that road, is like, wow.”

Next year, Smith plans on beginning the fundraising process early so she can send two students, a boy and a girl.

Copyright 2017 KPLC. All rights reserved. 

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