Ken Cray: BSCES 2013 Pre-College Educator of the Year

BSCES would like to congratulate Boston Public School teacher and longtime BSCES collaborator Ken Cray as the 2013 Outstanding Pre-College Educator Award Recipient.  Kenneth Cray was first introduced to pre-engineering when he decided to participate in Massachusetts Pre-Engineering Program (MassPEP). At that time, he was already in the in the Boston Public School system as a Chemistry teacher and as an Administrator for more than 10 years.  Through MassPEP, he started to introduce engineering to numerous teachers and students from different high schools around the Boston Area. In addition to MassPEP and on his own, he worked with teachers and administrators to introduce pre-engineering to their students through activities and workshops. His goal was to provide them an understanding of engineering by doing the activities themselves and bringing it back to their students. With these workshops and activities, it would help allow students to understand what they need to do to participate in the Engineering Design Competition every year in May. The Engineering Design Competition involved post secondary schools competing against one another designing and building different structures – bridges, catapults, towers, mouse traps, etc. – with various materials.

The Engineering Design Competition held by MassPEP led to the Ken’s involvement in the Model Bridge Contest, put together by the BSCES Infrastructure Group to celebrate National Engineers Week in 1994 as a one-time event. Before Ken arrived, BSCES had difficulty getting involvement from any schools in Boston even though they were able to provide mentors, and all the materials for this contest. Ken took this into his hands to spread the word about the Model Bridge Contest through MassPEP and other teachers and parents that he knew. He held workshops for teachers and provided them the materials, originally toothpicks, to build their models. The idea of the contest being an only one-time event changed on the day of the contest. A blizzard came down the night before, dumping 9” on Boston.  Ken and the BSCES decided to let the contest go on, and if people showed up they showed up. 40 teams from 40 schools showed up with their bridges. BSCES was surprised by the outcome and decided to keep it going annually. Ken continued to work in MassPEP and BSCES continued holding the Model Bridge Contest every year, and he also continued to provide workshops to teachers, giving them knowledge of the construction process.  The contest later spread statewide, and Ken continues to be one of its strongest advocates.  Ken now teaches at Greater Egleston Community High School, and every year brings great teams to the competition.  Ken dropped by the BNN-TV studios earlier this year while two of his students were interviewed about their participation in the 19th Annual BSCES Model Bridge Contest.  Watch the interview through this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LuesrV8fQJ0

If you want to get involved with the contest, or if your company would like to sponsor it, visit www.bsces.org.

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