This month a group of eighteen students from Healdsburg Junior High School skipped the snooze bar and hopped on a school bus by 7:45 am.  That’s right, these little troopers have decided to delay their Summer beauty sleep and camping trips until after their graduation ceremony at SRJC on June 26th.  That’s when they will officially graduate from the Mike Hauser Algebra Academy with a certificate of admission to SRJC in hand!

This year, for the first time, a group of Healdsburg businesses participated in the MHAA program, run by the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce in collaboration with the Healdsburg Chamber.  For three weeks from June 9 – 26, the eighth-graders are visiting local businesses from machine shops to lumber mills, from software firms to bakeries.  These businesses seem unrelated until their common message is delivered:  “mathematics is an integral part of getting the job done.”  The goal of MHAA is to show kids that math will be part of their future, and that math really works in the real world.

Home base for the program is a classroom at the Healdsburg Firehouse where their instructor, Teresa Dunne covers a predefined curriculum.  Each day there is a “field trip” to another local business where business owners and employees shine a new light on math concepts.  Max Machinery and Max Process Equipment each took a turn hosting the students.  Next the City of Healdsburg gave them an exhilarating demonstration at the airport – helicopter, seaplane, turbo prop and a vintage Piper lending the thrills.  Will Seppi, owner of Costeaux Bakery spent two mornings baking, measuring and calculating.  Sonoma Millworks fired up a CAD program on a big screen, drew a component and then showed the students how computer controlled fabrication machines cut and drill with precision.  E & M will do more than turn on a few light bulbs and next week Metier will immerse the students in the world of software engineering.

This mini Summer internship program is a fantastic opportunity for the students to expand their knowledge and build some dreams for the future.  At Sonoma Millworks, Elia Garcia, a particularly inquisitive young lady raised her hand time and again.  Her thoughtful questions proved that she was absorbing what she was seeing.  According to business owner, Gordon Martin, “One bright-eyed child with a thirst for knowledge makes the whole day a success!”

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