Luis Covarrubias, a Mount Auburn STEAM Academy fifth grade science teacher, is dedicated to making memorable moments with his students through hands-on labs and activities, something he can now pursue better thanks to the school’s brand new science lab.
Mount Auburn received a $20,000 grant from the East Dallas Exchange Club last spring to make the renovations. The East Dallas Exchange Club partners with high-need schools throughout the area and has funded projects at Mount Auburn in the past. To get the necessary funding for the lab and all the innovative equipment inside it, the East Dallas Exchange Club hosted fundraisers alongside radio show hosts from The Ticket’s “The Morning Musers,” and members from both communities joined Principal Brittany Swanson to celebrate the project’s completion at a ribbon cutting ceremony on Sept. 7.
The Mount Auburn community could not be more excited about the new space, which they have been using since the start of the 2022-2023 school year. They recently earned a distinction in science and moved to an overall TEA score of 89, and Swanson said she has been so pleased to see the school’s growth.
“Mount Auburn is in the middle of a lot of change, and our students and teachers have worked so hard to get where they are,” Swanson said. “Donations like this one are so helpful and really do change the trajectory for the neighborhood and our campus.”
The science lab boasts of great storage space, cabinets, faucets, sinks and plenty of counter space, and Covarrubias said his students love exploring the circuits, planets, terrariums and other equipment he has on display.
“It was actually difficult the first day because I needed them to focus, and they were looking around at everything,” Covarrubias said. “I want my students to experience as much as possible. They need to see and feel how experiments change and move, and I can tell that they want to learn everything we have to offer.”
One of the units Covarrubias is particularly excited about this year is the study of landforms and erosion. His students will get to work with sand, water and clay to observe how canyons, rivers and valleys form, a process that usually takes “millions and billions of years.”
“Science is everywhere,” Covarrubias said. “I get goosebumps because anything that you can touch or grab, you can discern and see how it’s made.”
Covarrubias believes that science jumpstarts student learning across every subject, and he cannot wait to watch those transformations occur in the science lab. He once asked two students to help him organize the materials they would be using to make terrariums. He explained what everything was for and how they could study plants and insects, and his students’ response left a lasting impression.
“As they were walking away, one of them told the other, ‘Wow this is going to be the best year ever. I’m going to love this class,’” Covarrubias said. “That is why I do what I do. Everything that I have in the lab motivates students and gets them excited for learning, and donations like this one make a big difference in lighting the spark of curiosity and wonder in their lives, leaving a lasting impact on their futures.”