Science Night at Solana Vista engages adults, kids in enjoyable engineering


Although the school day had ended, students gathered Sept. 30 at Solana Vista for its first-ever Science Night.

“We hoped for families to spend quality time together through an engaging evening of hands-on engineering that challenged them to solve a real-world problem,” said Solana Vista teacher Taylor Lynch. “The result far exceeded our expectations.”

More than 100 people, including students, parents, grandparents and siblings, attended the event, where families were tasked with building a water tower with newspapers donated by the San Diego Union-Tribune, tape and water bottles.

The event was such a success, Lynch said the school ran out of supplies. Families had to work together to build the structure.

“The buzz and sheer excitement for the task was infectious,” Lynch said. “Many laughs, smiles and successes were shared and could be seen firsthand in our KIVA, school hallways, outdoor courtyard and surrounding areas.”

The event was organized by Lynch, a longtime Solana Vista teacher, who now serves as the school’s full-time STREAM teacher. New this year, the position is funded by the Solana Beach Schools Foundation.

“The Solana Beach Foundation and community has partnered and invested in his role, and it’s great to see the return on investment for these families by way of fun learning events like Science Night,” said Solana Vista principal Joel Tapia.

Founded in 1987, the Solana Beach Schools Foundation raises funds to support school programs and students in the Solana Beach School District. Since last year, the funds have helped schools offer Discovery Labs, which focus on science, technology, research, engineering, arts and math, or STREAM, and supplemental physical education.

“Every student has the opportunity to visit the STREAM lab weekly,” said Kerri Merson, who serves as Solana Vista co-site president for the foundation, along with Kerily McEvoy. She noted that four part-time instructors also support the Discovery Labs at the school.

“Anything we can do to get parents and the community involved is important,” Merson said. “STREAM is a relatively new concept. A lot of parents don’t really know what it actually entails, so for them to come in and see what we’re doing at this school is a really great thing.”

The foundation is raising funds to support STREAM at the district’s schools. It costs about $375 per student to cover the costs, Merson said.

“I hope that students took an added excitement for engineering home to their families,” Lynch said. “I hope that students will ask their parents to tinker more, and this excitement will trickle into a lifelong love of exploring the world around them.”

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