Piper Williams donned virtual reality goggles to get a glimpse of the next phase of equitable education: tech classes in areas like coding and robotics.
Glenn Williams watched in amazement as his 7-year-old daughter, Piper, circled the auditorium.
“It’s great. It keeps them hooked and hooked,” he said.
Piper may have been immersed in a virtual world, but in reality, she and her dad were at the headquarters of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition.
So on Tuesday, leaders of PUSH for Excellence, the education arm of the civil rights organization, announced plans to focus on technology education and announced the agenda for an upcoming scholarship gala.
Helping PUSH promote STEM education was Bernard Key, who has taught robotics and other technology classes in the organization’s summer program for the past two years.
Williams, who grew up with Key in the Brainerd neighborhood of the South Side, said Key was always interested in technology.
“We couldn’t afford go-karts, so he built one,” Williams said. “It’s been part of his DNA since we were kids.”
Key wanted to instill the same spirit in his students and lead them to better jobs.
He cited fast-food chain White Castle, which announced earlier this year that it would use robots to cook burgers in some locations.
“Here’s the difference between programming a robot or cleaning the bathroom,” Key said.
Bishop Tavis Grant, Acting National Executive Director of Rainbow PUSH, also spoke at a press conference on Tuesday, stressing the importance of helping students obtain financial aid to advance their education. Rainbow PUSH does its job, keeping these summer programs affordable. Members of the PUSH Coalition can join for a $15 membership fee.
“This work is very important, especially during periods of inflation,” said Grant.
Annual Scholarship Breakfast on MLK Day
Rainbow PUSH, founded by the Reverend Jesse Jackson, will host its 33rd annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship Breakfast on January 16 at the Marriott Marquis Chicago at 2121 S. Prairie Ave.
Held on holidays in honor of the King since 1993, breakfast is an opportunity for organizations to renew their commitment to the vision of civil rights leaders and highlight the ways in which they advance these goals through education.
Speakers at the January event include actress Sheryl Lee Ralph. Retired Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White. and activist Zitu Brown.
In addition to providing PUSH for Excellence details, the group will use the scholarship breakfast to highlight its commitment to funding education and to announce plans to prevent violence in schools.
The organization’s executive director, Reverend Janet Wilson, also addressed the same topic. “No child grows up without these tools,” she said. “Many of our parents are not in the jobs today because they have not been trained.”
In addition to emphasizing technical education, the organization also returns to the longstanding topic of the group’s role in providing scholarships. Since its inception, the organization has paid out her $8 million in scholarships, including to her 82 college students.
Michael Loria is a staff reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times. Reporting to Americaa non-profit journalism program aimed at enhancing the coverage of the paper in communities in the South and West.
https://chicago.suntimes.com/education/2022/12/27/23527856/stem-technology-education-program-rainbow-push-scholarships-virtual-reality Rainbow PUSH wants to promote technical education through summer programs