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Colchester teacher receives “Presidential Award for Excellence”

COLCHESTER - Creating young innovators, that’s what’s happening inside Mrs. Ngai’s classroom at William J Johnston Middle School in Colchester.

It was that innovative thinking that led to her receiving the presidential award for excellence for her work in the STEM field. One of only a few teacher in Connecticut to receive this award.

“We do a lot of work with inventing and problem-solving because we don’t know what kind of careers these kids are going to have when they get out of high school but we want to prepare them for all the different technologies they’re going to encounter, all the different problems they may need to solve in the world,” said Ngai

Wednesday morning students packed the hallway to congratulate their award winning teacher as she came back from being honored in Washington D.C.

Now this is not your typical middle school classroom, students are getting hands on experience with some of the newest technologies.

“we were able to get some really cool technology, we have 3-D printers for Proto typing, we just got a laser cutter that the kids are going to be using to make new parts for robotics and other things that they designed themselves,” said Ngai.

This innovative program paying off, it gets students excited about stem.

“She makes it really fun, she makes it seem like it’s just a normal part of my day to work on my invention. She’s there and I know that I can lean on her whenever I have to,” said Abby Belding, and 8th grader at WJJMS.

Abby herself was honored last year for an invention she got to work on in that very class! Even receiving a patent at nationals for her automatic window opener in case of a fire.

Many students now benefiting from this program.

“We wanted students to think, build, create so we need a program, class that would do it and she created that program,” said Chris Bennet, Principal, WJJMS.

The school was just rebuilt it re-opened last year and they said when they were designing this building they wanted that stem program a innovation program to be at the forefront of it. The Innovation classroom has a bunch of windows so that students would walk by and get inspired and want to be inside that classroom, learning about stem.

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