Since 1986, CPEP - Catalysts Powering Educational Performance - has been providing children in Connecticut with an exciting approach to the disciplines of science, technology, engineering and math. Students in 11 urban cities throughout the state attend out-of-school programs – supported by CPEP staff, volunteers and mentors – and work on challenging projects, which eventually make their way to the much-anticipated CPEP Day each May.
This year, CPEP Challenge Day took place on May 10 at the Hartford Armory on Broad Street and featured hundreds of enthusiastic youth, ready to put their designs to the test. Air-powered boats, mousetrap vehicles, magnetic levitation vehicles, roller coasters, egg-drop packages and Rube Goldberg machines filled the Armory's "parlors," with other fun events, such as chess matches, minute-to-win-it events and math challenges, taking place in booths interspersed around the hall.
A number of partners and sponsors support CPEP, including Pratt & Whitney and United Technologies, who also provide many of the day's volunteer judges.
"I volunteered at CPEP last year and enjoyed judging the kids' work, so I volunteered again this year," said Karim Kamareddine of Pratt & Whitney. "The fun part for me is seeing the kids show off the fruits of their hard work. It's great to be in a place with hundreds of kids excited to learn and to participate in a statewide event."
Abigail Piva, also of Pratt & Whitney, was another of the STEM professionals on hand to judge designs.
"CPEP Day combines a huge focus around science and engineering with the excitement and fun of the kids showing off their projects," she said.
STEM professional judges included engineers, teachers, scientists and area business leaders.
Piva continued, "I am proud Pratt & Whitney represents a large amount of the day's volunteers, as CPEP is truly a winning program in the Hartford area."
For more information about CPEP and its participating communities, visit them online at www.cpep.org.