BURLINGTON, NC, Aug. 2, 2021 – Leading school science supplier Carolina Biological launched the Young Innovators program to highlight student inventions and inspire students and teachers to see that all students can succeed in STEM. As educators and students return to class this fall, these high-interest profiles are free resources perfect for engaging students in learning science, while promoting equity and inclusion. One of the first Innovators of the Month to be featured is six-year old Robert Samuel White III (Sam). Sam White, whose amazing new take on a traditional ABC song encourages other students to think about the jobs they could have as they learn the letters of the alphabet. A video of Sam singing his co-written song, “ You Can Be ABCs,” with his dad went viral on social media last fall. What started as a simple idea to make learning fun for Sam turned into a sensational video and soon to be book that parents and teachers can use with their students who are learning to read. Sam, entering second grade, has also recorded a new video for Carolina, featuring STEM careers to educate young students about jobs in science. A diverse selection of young student innovators will be featured so that all students will see someone that they can relate to. From their classrooms or at home, teachers can engage students in learning science. The new site www.CarolinaYoungInnovators.com launched with 12 Young Innovator profiles and will recognize their accomplishments by honoring a Young Innovator of the Month every month. Carolina is searching for more Young Innovators to highlight, so teachers are encouraged to nominate their students on its online recommendation page.
Individual profile pages and free downloadable literacy cards for each Young Innovator are available now in a choice of grade-appropriate K-12 reading levels in English and Spanish. Teachers can access and share these digital resources with students anywhere they have Internet access. Suggestions are provided for how teachers can use these stories with their classrooms. Carolina is celebrating the launch with a Facebook contest through August. Four winners will receive a Young Innovators poster and T-shirt, plus a signed copy of Sam’s book.
The inspiring students featured in Carolina’s Young Innovators program will surprise and captivate students’ attention. They demonstrate the amazing achievements that happen when students take action to answer a question or solve a problem in science, technology, engineering, and math. By recognizing and celebrating these Young Innovators’ accomplishments both big and small, Carolina strives to open the door to possibilities, to inspire all students and nurture their visions. Carolina promotes diversity and inclusion to encourage every student to take their place in STEM.
“We just made up the song and made our video last fall to keep learning fun and to inspire our little boy Sam that he could be anything in life,” said Robert “Bobby” White, Sam’s dad and co-author of “You Can Be ABCs” song and book. “His mom and I both put great value on education and we are no TikTokers! I put it on Facebook for fun and it went viral! It made us realize that Sam could inspire other kids too. People were even asking for the words, so now you can see the lyrics if you download the song on iTunes. It’s hard to count how many views it got, but at least 20 million. Ellen DeGeneres had him on her TV show in November to sing the song and shared in a Tweet of the clip afterward that ’You Can Be ABCs‘ might be one of her favorite things of 2020. And she invited us back on The Ellen Show in January by video call because of COVID.”
“This was one of those things we didn’t see coming,” said Bobby. “It is tremendously humbling to land where we did! We created a platform to introduce kids to ideas about everything they can be and literacy. Even if they change their mind 20 times, it’s important that children are thinking about what they might want to be in the future and that they have a goal! There is no age too young. Often kids’ interests go back to something they enjoyed early in life. Having these conversations about careers early and often is the way to go!”
According to Sam’s mom Stephanie Nerissa White, who taught him to read at age 2, the sudden Internet fame has not changed Sam’s love of learning, school and reading. He wants to be challenged and busy and loves to tell jokes. “It is excellent to see Sam recognized for his creativity as a Young Innovator!” said Stephanie. “We’re hearing from teachers and parents who watch his video daily. We are so proud of our boy that he brought joy to so many people! As Sam says, it’s amazing! It’s important not to stifle kids’ creativity and give many ways to illuminate their skills. If they show interest in something, encourage the child and they will work harder without pressure. Video is not my thing, but Sam and Bobby surprised me with a creative video commercial for my reading tutoring business that I am using.”
The Young Innovator home page features Sam now for the month of August. Following months will feature Sam on his own profile page with links from several other pages. Sam’s profile page will include: New newscast-style video for Carolina of Sam reporting the “ABCs of STEM Careers,” original viral video, pre-order/buy now links to purchase his book releasing Nov. 9 through Penguin Random House, downloadable literacy profile card for educators to use in classrooms, and a photo gallery of Sam, Bobby, and Stephanie, as well as links to Sam’s social pages. This page will be updated as Sam creates new content.
“Showing students in kindergarten and up examples of like students who identified and solved problems with science and applauding their work is the idea behind our Young Innovators program,” said Jim Parrish, President and CEO at Carolina Biological Supply Company. “Seeing is believing and it is so important to recognize and share real-world and current stories to help all students believe that they can be successful in science and STEM careers. Their ideas are making a difference, from Ahmed Muhammad who created a company that provides STEM kits for kids, to Annie Ostojic who figured out how to make microwaves cook more evenly! These are great good news features that teachers can use to lead discussions and start off science lessons with high-interest positive stories.”
Meet Carolina’s Young Innovators
In addition to Sam White, Carolina is celebrating some creative and amazing Young Innovators nationwide and sharing their stories.
Easton LaChappelle’s (14) robotic hand made from LEGOs, fishing wire, and electrical tubing led to affordable, accessible prostheses. Young children may be safer, thanks to Joaquin Haces-Garcia’s (12) innovative car seat alarm. Deepika Kurup (14) created a new way to purify water to make clean water more available to everyone. A 17-year-old girl, Augusta Uwamanzu-Nna, created a new underwater cement that may prevent oil rig catastrophes. And Raymond Wang’s (17) innovation may reduce disease transmission on airplanes by more than half.
Ahmed Muhammad (17) wants kids to know that they can do science, so he created kits to inspire them. Microwave ovens may cook more efficiently, thanks to Annie Ostojic’s (13) containers and reflectors. Devon (14) and Trevor Langley (11) wanted to make math easier for students with dyslexia, so they teamed up to create a helpful app. Girls can code, and Olivia Thomas’ (17) games and workshops prove it. Shemar Coombs (19) created an innovation that keeps headphone wires tangle-free, which may be available in stores one day.
Carolina’sYoung Innovatorsliteracy cards for K-12 teachers and students are available now in digital format through Carolina Biological. The resources are free of charge and every story is accessible in multiple reading levels in English and Spanish. For information and to download the literacy cards, visit www.CarolinaYoungInnovators.com.
Carolina Biological Supply Company
From its beginnings in 1927, Carolina ( www.carolina.com) has grown to become the leading supplier of science teaching materials in the world. Headquartered in Burlington, NC, Carolina serves customers worldwide, including teachers, students, and professionals in science and health-related fields. The company is still privately owned by descendants of the founder, geology and biology professor Dr. Thomas E. Powell Jr.
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