St. Louis, MO – August 26, 2016 – Two Fort Zumwalt School District students earned their Girl Scout Gold Award this year, the 100 th anniversary of the highest award attainable in Girl Scouting. Katie Mazdra and Megan Vancil were among 42 young women in eastern Missouri honored at a ceremony earlier this summer.
Mazdra, a senior at Fort Zumwalt North High School, created a camp to help low-income students learn more about STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). She worked with administrators at LINC Community Center in Wentzville to organize the once-a-week, four-week program. More than 15 students participated, enjoying hands-on experiments and discovering the basics of chemical reactions, circuits, ratios and structural engineering. Activities included adding Mentos® mints to cola, constructing circuit boards and making clocks using potatoes.
According to U.S. Department of Commerce, STEM jobs are projected to continue growing at three times the pace of non-STEM jobs. The program got the students excited to pursue careers in STEM, Mazdra said, an important outcome of the project. Mazdra plans to study biology in college, and said teaching the kids about science and related fields will help her in her future career.
As an avid history buff and dog lover, Vancil, a senior at Fort Zumwalt East High School, collaborated with the Lewis and Clark Boat House and Nature Center and the River King Newfoundland Club, to revitalize an exhibit at the museum. She sought to educate the public about the importance Newfoundland dogs have served in American history, including Seaman, the dog who accompanied Lewis and Clark on their discovery expedition. Vancil rejuvenated the museum’s stuffed replica of Seaman, and created an informational presentation about the breed. More than 150 people attended an event Vancil organized at the museum, complete with eight real-life Newfoundlands showcasing their training and abilities.
“I heard from a lot of people who didn’t know about Newfoundlands before I did my project,” Vancil said. “People were really wowed by the dogs. Several people wanted to adopt a Newfoundland in the future, which was my goal, because they have a declining population.”
The presentation and Seaman replica can be seen at the Lewis and Clark Boat House and Nature Center, allowing even more visitors to learn about the influential breed.
The Gold Award is the highest national award a Girl Scout Senior or Ambassador, girls in grade 9-12, can earn. Attaining the Girl Scout Gold Award requires a significant amount of time planning and implementing a challenging, large-scale project that is innovative, engages others and has a lasting impact on its targeted community with an emphasis on sustainability.
Less than one percent of all Girl Scouts earn the Girl Scout Gold Award, putting them among an exceptional group of women who have used their knowledge and leadership skills to make a difference in the world. Some of the Gold Awardee benefits are:
- A Girl Scout who has earned her Gold Award and enlists in the US Armed Forces, immediately rises one level in rank
- Colleges and universities recognize the achievements and leadership abilities of Girl Scout Gold Award recipients by offering scholarship programs
- Achievements of the Girl Scout Gold Award recipients are acknowledged by many government and non-profit organizations