Lefler Honors Cadre students participate in Discover Engineering Days

Students in Lefler Middle School’s Honors Cadre recently participated in Discover Engineering Days, an event held multiple times throughout the year that introduces middle school students to the various fields of engineering and the programs offered at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

This year’s event was held virtually so there was not the typical trip to the UNL campus. But UNL College of Engineering students still led sessions about electrical nanotechnology, acoustics and the construction of rockets.

“My hope is for students to see engineering as a possible course of study,” said Barb Miller, the cadre’s facilitator.

Miller and Lefler Principal Jess Fries started the Honors Cadre seven years ago when they invited fifth-grade students from their feeder schools to be part of an academic support community. It’s now a three-year middle school program that fosters an academically focused peer group for marginalized students who were not identified as gifted in elementary schools.

Incoming Lefler students are identified by test scores, as well as recommendations from teachers and principals. Cadre members are then enrolled in differentiated courses and take part in a variety of experiences meant to enrich their academic work. They draw from local universities and high schools to provide mentors, tutors and field trips.

“My goal is to give cadre students many diverse experiences so they can see what opportunities are available to them,” Miller said.

Eighth-grader Kyquel Snyder is one of the cadre members this year.

“I really like it,” she said. “We do a lot of things that I wouldn’t be able to do otherwise.”

Miller plans on starting similar cadres at three more middle schools in fall of 2021.

Published: March 3, 2021, Updated: March 3, 2021