Imagine your first time at Joe Louis Arena. Undeniable displays of passion screaming from every direction, those infamous entry stairs, and the incredible sightlines from every seat in the building. For more than 150 students and teachers from Detroit Public Schools Community District, today was their opportunity to take one last look at Joe Louis Arena before the Red Wings conclude their "Farewell Season at The Joe." Many of the 5th-8th grade students from Carstens Elementary-Middle, Carleton Elementary, Mackenzie Elementary-Middle, Davison Elementary-Middle and Mark Twain Elementary schools were experiencing the iconic arena for the first time.
The students won an opportunity to visit Joe Louis Arena through the EverFi Future Goals program presented by the NHL, NHLPA and Detroit Red Wings. The educational fieldtrip afforded an opportunity for students to see real-life activation of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) concepts during the final full practice at Joe Louis Arena and hear from Detroit Red Wings staff regarding their STEM-related careers.
Capitalizing on a successful launch of the Future Goals STEM education program last season, the Detroit Red Wings partnered with Detroit Public Schools Community District to develop an incentive-based approach to engaging additional teachers and students throughout the city of Detroit. The program targeted middle school teachers interested in using the sport of hockey and the Detroit Red Wings brand to encourage increased interest from students in learning STEM concepts. To launch the program, middle school teachers were invited to a learning session at Joe Louis Arena earlier this season.
"The Future Goals program uniquely allows students to realize how STEM concepts intersect with the game of hockey - on and off the ice," said Kevin Brown, Director of Community Relations & Detroit Red Wings Foundation. "For many students in Detroit and across Michigan, this program is their first opportunity to experience the intricacies and excitement of hockey."
The morning began with an informational panel lead by Jim Biewer, Director of Event Marketing, and members of the Detroit Red Wings staff, including Al Sobotka, Building Operations Manager, and Sheldon Neuman, Director of Broadcasting and Chief Engineer. Sobotka, the Red Wings' longtime Zamboni driver, provided an in-depth look into how the ice is developed and maintained at Joe Louis Arena. Meanwhile, Neuman expounded on how technology and math at Joe Louis Arena is used to prepare game presentations each night.
Following the panel presentation, Mrs. Wiley from Carstens Elementary-Middle School was honored with a $2,500 technology upgrade grant from the Detroit Red Wings and EverFi. Mrs. Wiley's class won the grant for achieving the highest program completion percentage of all participating schools in Detroit this year.
"Since the Red Wings are in Detroit, it's great they're helping Detroit public school students. To see that athletes are representing their city and can give back, it's a great thing," said Mrs. Wiley. "I think it all came together well. The online classes from EverFi, the Red Wings being involved, the kids being involved, and it all being a Detroit collaboration - I think this is awesome."
The highlight of this morning's activities was an opportunity to see Detroit Red Wings players practice on the ice at Joe Louis Arena. For Pulnahar Ali from Davison Elementary-Middle School, she could barely contain her excitement when the players took the ice.
"Today the most exciting thing I did was watch the players," said Ali. "I have never actually seen players on an ice rink. I've never seen a rink before at all. The way they skate, it's so agile. I love it, it's like their dancing but they're actually really competing."
So far this school year, more than 15,000 students across the state of Michigan have participated in Future Goals. The complimentary courses take students on an exciting educational journey with a goal of winning the Stanley Cup®. Students guide their favorite NHL team by completing 12 learning modules designed to educate them and test their knowledge on core STEM concepts covering data analysis, geometry, life science and physical science topics. These topics come to life through hockey simulations that include the dynamics of the ice surface, equipment design, athletic performance, and geometric and energy considerations to detail how the game is played on the ice. To learn more about how to sign a school up for the Future Goals STEM education program, visit www.futuregoals.nhl.com/redwings.