Dozens of 7th-graders across Green Country, including Isaiah Smith and Bryce Stephens of Owasso, were honored at Tulsa Regional STEM Alliance’s “You’re Kind of a Big Deal” banquet on Tuesday, April 18.

The 5th annual event, held at the Tulsa School of Arts & Sciences, commended 37 outstanding STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) students who have distinguished themselves in the field.

Tuesday’s banquet brought together parents, educators and STEM professionals to recognize the students’ achievements and encourage them to continue down the path of becoming a STEM professional.

“Middle School is a pivotal time for students in Oklahoma,” Sabrina Bevins, Communications Coordinator, said. “This particular event, it helps put them on a positive course to set them up for … high school years, which is very critical to plan their future.”

The 7th-graders ate dinner; Jonathan Townsend, Assistant to the Mayor for Community Development and Policy, gave a special address; and local STEM professionals mentored the students through hands-on activities.

The students participated in the Tallest Tower Challenge, where they constructed a tower out of paper plates, toilet paper rolls and other supplies in a friendly competition to see which structure stood the longest.

Although Stephens was not in attendance, Smith, who was nominated by his teacher Jennifer Farley, took part in the evening’s events and represented Owasso during the gathering. Both boys were awarded for their efforts.

“I loved this; it was a great opportunity for me and my future,” Smith said. “I didn’t expect meeting the assistant mayor. Personally, I enjoyed the building and the assistant mayor’s speech.”

Smith’s mother Charity said he has always held a passion for science and space and often talks about being an astrophysicist. This banquet served as another step to help him pursue a possible career in the field.

“I’m pleased to know STEM and his wonderful teacher have helped nurture his love for learning,” Charity said. “No matter what path he follows, I know he will excel.”

Smith’s father Justin added, “I’m so very proud of Isaiah for being recognized for his accomplishments. His potential is limitless, and we are glad his school offers this program to further his development in the sciences.”

Art is a seasoned reporter of over 15 years with an extended background in writing and editing for a variety of publications and organizations.