Adult Learning Center welcomes STEM enthusiasts

NASHUA – The new school year brings with it some exciting changes to the School Age Adventures Program at the Adult Learning Center.

The after-school care program has always offered enrichment opportunities for the hundreds of elementary students served in Nashua, Hudson, Litchfield, Merrimack and Hollis. This year is no exception, as Jeremy Griffus will serve as the new activities and enrichment coordinator for the program and will focus on STEM – science, technology, engineering and math – activities and lessons.

Griffus, who started working at the ALC as a teenager in Hudson at H.O. Smith School, wasn’t always so STEM focused. He began his education hoping to work as a park ranger, combining his love for the outdoors with his interest in criminal justice.

However, his ongoing part-time work for the ALC taught him that his passion for science and love of working with children was ultimately the right path for him.

"This is my dream job," Griffus said while sitting in his small office at the ALC. The office is merely a place to store his "stuff," he said, as he plans to spend most of his time in the field conducting STEM experiments and activities at the 25 schools that house the School Age Adventures Program.

The idea for the position came from Griffus and the School Age Adventures Program director, Lois Parsons, who regularly explores ways to improve the successful and popular program. She approached Griffus, who often gave demonstrations at the after-school sites and during vacation camps, to see if he would be interested in joining the organization. After seeing him work with students during one of his workshops, Executive Director Carol Baldwin was thrilled with the idea.

"With so much attention being given to STEM education in our schools, it seemed a natural fit to invite Jeremy to bring his skills to our program full time," Baldwin said.

While his efforts for the near future will be focused largely on the 25 elementary and middle after-school care programs the ALC provides, there is no telling how the position may grow. Griffus hopes to eventually offer STEM enrichment activities during the school day to teachers who otherwise don’t have the resources or time to prepare multiple, hands-on experiments with their students.

Regardless of how the position develops for Griffus, he says he is right where he wants to be.

"Nothing makes me happier than to see a kid’s face light up when they problem solve during one of the activities," he said. "These are not just lessons about science. This is how we learn to handle all kinds of problems in life. If the first thing you try doesn’t work, keep trying. There is no better lesson that that."

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