A month of learning

Central Collegiate student, Obi Aghamelu, is one of 801 Canadians accepted into month-long STEAM program. -- (Crystal Schick/Times-Herald)

Central Collegiate student one of 801 Canadians accepted into month-long STEAM program

Obi Aghamelu wants to be a doctor one day.

He just doesn’t yet know what kind of doctor he wants to be. That’s something he hopes his experience this summer is going to change.

Aghamelu, who just finished Grade 11 at Central Collegiate, is one of 801 students in Canada accepted into SHAD program, an award-winning Canadian enrichment program to give students hands-on experience focused around STEAM – science, technology, engineering, arts and math.

“I like school, but the only problem with it sometimes is it’s just a bunch of theory and notes and books and exams and tests,” said Aghamelu. “You don’t actually get to do the things you’re learning about. Here (at SHAD), you get to do a bunch of labs, a bunch of workshops, to actually get hands-on with different aspects of the things I like to do.”

Aghamelu leaves on Sunday for Ottawa for SHAD and will be there for all of July.
“I’ve never travelled by myself before,” he said. “It should be fun. It should be an experience, at least.”

Obi Aghamelu stares out the window of his home after learning he will be receiving some hard earned free education this summer in Ottawa. — (Crystal Schick/Times-Herald)

At SHAD, students will attend STEAM-centred lectures and workshops and will also be presented with a theme or social problem. Students then must devise an original product to address the issue.

Students selected for SHAD must undergo an intense competition and this year had a record number of applications.

“Past students rave about the program and how it transforms them,” said Tim Jackson, SHAD president and CEO. “That’s why we’re trying to ensure SHAD is known and available to every eligible student across the country.”

Aghamelu first learned about the program from a friend who attended in 2016.

“He came back and told me a lot of good stuff about it,” he said. “So I decided to apply.”
He submitted his application in November. When he learned that he had been accepted, he was excited and surprised.

“A lot of people applied and there are probably a lot of other strong students that applied as well. I was confident when I applied in my application, but I wasn’t being too ambitious,” said Aghamelu. “But when I got it, I was really excited about it.”

Part of his excitement is the chance to do something more challenging.

“I’ll just have a lot of fun,” he said. “It’s just a good way to spend a summer rather than just doing nothing at home.”