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Thursday, February 22, 2024

When did S.T.E.A.M. become an acronym?

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Above / Years ago youngsters took to the stage during the Hometown Holidays Parade of Lights to perform joyful songs, highlighting the sounds of the season in downtown Naperville. (PN File Photo, 2014)

With the dawning of the 21st century came the evolution of S.T.E.M. to S.T.E.A.M., an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math.

At first simply “STEM” was promoted as another way to enhance students’ education and personal development at a time when so much was changing so quickly with job opportunities. And mobile networks emerged with 5G technology in the future.

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As we think about it, all the talk about STEM entered the lexicon about the same time as this printed publication. PN was launched to help promote local arts and entertainment, small independent businesses, community voices and the important work of a fine group of nonprofits that make a difference for the unmet needs in this community.

The “A” for the arts augments STEM learning into STEAM learning, allowing educators to expand the benefits of hands-on education and collaboration in myriad imaginative ways. Our local schools are highly recognized for their music, art and vocational programs. Our parents provide music lessons and art instruction for their kids.

Our pages and our website have promoted school events about robots, arts festivals, planetarium experiences, DNA experiments and more that have engaged local students in STEAM.

In recent months, we’ve been attracted to news about the science of singing. Groups have been performing online via Zoom and other webinars. Other groups have been filmed at Mt. Rushmore and in our National Parks, following established commonsense protocols to be safe. Music, like art, is good for the soul. And never better than at Christmastime.

Many years ago, Naperville native John Harvard suggested PN’s “Worldly Words” feature, a space to recognize a significant quote with meaning that might make readers think and learn more about the author.

Volumes of books and online websites offer a plethora of quotes with attribution. Many times we fall in favor of a suggested quote, only to find other quotes by the same individual aren’t so much to our liking!

The December 2020 cover of Positively Naperville features songs of the season. It’s message to shop sensibly and seek science applies as treetops glisten… (PN Photo, 2020)

Yet, we continue to learn – always trying to be objective, always trying to make folks think. And sometimes we make assumptions that PN readers read between the lines. We also hope readers note the “ever wonders” at the bottom of every printed page.

Just as December 2019, this month’s cover is a tribute to songs of the season. With minor updates, its message holds true to us, especially considering all the challenges that have many of us wondering, “What next?”

Never in my lifetime would I have imagined a pandemic would be such a devastating affront to the arts – visual, performing, culinary, vocational and musical – and our local economy.

Many news stories have showcased information by experts and non-experts with soundbites that fail to tell both sides of the story. A well-researched story by credible physicians and scientists is posted online. It’s titled, “Safer Singing During the SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic: What We Know and What We Don’t.” It’s long. Here’s hoping you’ll search for it.

In the spirit of the holiday season, we suggest everyone use commonsense and follow protocols to decrease the risk of COVID transmission. That said, we’re fully acknowledging a quote from the very well-documented story that rings true about much of the news today that appears one-sided. “There is no certainty or scientific evidence regarding the risks specifically for the voice community, nor the efficacy of these interventions, all of which require research.”

Sing safely! Sing all the songs of the season with joy for peace.

—PN, December 2020

Thanks to many curious readers who land on this post

Updated, Nov. 26, 2022 / We’re happy to note that this post from Dec. 6, 2020, is visited online at least several times daily—sometimes many more. Since this story was posted online, analytics tell us folks have found it searching for “STEM” and/or “STEAM.”

Earlier this month, we again were inspired by music during a visit to the summit of Pikes Peak in the Rocky Mountains. There we experienced the incredibly magnificent views of Colorado and other neighboring states that inspired Katharine Lee Bates to write the words to “America the Beautiful” in 1893.

“Oh, beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain. For purple mountains majesty above the fruited plain. America. America. God shed his grace on thee. And crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea.” by Katharine Lee Bates. 

Whenever possible, explore local parks, state parks, national parks and all the natural wonders throughout this nation from one state to the next. Enjoy deep breaths in the great outdoors. Experience beloved American landmarks.

Since 1909, the Garden of the Gods, a forever gift from nature in brilliant towering red rock forms, has provided winding trails in a park setting with spectacular views of the Rockies and Pikes Peak. (PN Photo, 2022)

And perhaps in the words of another “Beautiful” song, sing along with words by Carole King: “You’ve got to get up every morning with a smile on your face. And show the world all the love in your heart…”

Trails throughout the Garden of the Gods offer magnificent views of Pikes Peak in the distance, framed by natural red rock sculptures formed millions of years ago.

Again, thanks for reading. —PN, Nov. 26, 2022

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PN Ombudsman
PN Ombudsman
An ombudsman is Scandinavian in origin dating back to Viking times; and refers to a community representative; usually acting independently on behalf of an organization, body of elected officials, or civic group. Thanks Scandinavia for inventing ombudsman.

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