Published Apr 15, 2021 by Rick Cundiff

The past year has been like nothing we’ve ever seen. Businesses closed, folks out of work, kids out of school.

School has been a big worry for so many people throughout the country since last March. Are students making progress? Can they handle the social isolation of staying home? Can they learn over video screens instead of in-person interactions?

While those are certainly legitimate concerns, I have a sneaking suspicion that, to coin a phrase, the kids are all right.

It’s been my experience that people in general are more resilient than we give them credit for, and that’s especially true of young folks.

Back in the Stone Age, a/k/a my high school years, we had two consecutive years of terrible winter weather. This was in a semi-southern state that didn’t have the resources or the knowledge base to cope with massive amounts of snow and ice. The entire county missed more than two months of school – consecutively – in both my junior and senior years. Yet the kids managed to grow up, go to college or trade school or the workforce and thrive.

I’m not saying we did it alone. We had help from talented educators determined to get us up to speed. And this was in the days before the internet, Zoom, smartphones or any of the other modern tools teachers today have.

Today’s students have plenty of support behind them, including a couple of terrific organizations that promote STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education. They even go beyond STEM, turning it into STEAM, by adding Arts education as well.

Destination Imagination and Odyssey of the Mind both offer teams of students a way to solve problems, think creatively and work together throughout the year.

This year, both organizations had to work with the quarantine restrictions, yet still have managed to keep going with social interaction and educational opportunities young learners need to thrive.

Each one customarily holds a huge convention at the end of the year which brings thousands of students, and their parents, siblings and educators together in a giant competition. Unfortunately, COVID restrictions have limited their options this year.

We’re big supporters of DI and OM, and strongly encourage you to check them out. Maybe even order some patches in support, maybe even sell a few to raise funds for them. Think it over. The future is up to them.

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