Explore 2000 Middle School Holds Mock Election

Explore 2000 Middle School hosted their first mock presidential election on Monday, November 7, 2016. Students cast their ballots during their lunch periods while the 3rd Year students volunteered at the polls to help their classmates with the process. With all classes reporting in, we have a clear and decisive winner: Secretary Clinton won with 74% (78 votes), coming in second was Harambe with 6.7% (7 votes) and Republican nominee, Donald Trump, came in third with 5.7% (6 votes). It will be interesting to see how Explore’s polling numbers compare to the country.

Explore students are very interested in the election and have been learning about the process through activities that include a mock debate and primary election. Serena, 3rd year student, said, “It made me think about who I would vote for if I was eligible. I am going to register as soon as I am old enough to vote.” Amanda, 2nd year student, said, “I am going to vote when I am old enough to make sure bad things, like Donald Trump, don’t happen.” Ahmed, 2nd year student, said, “It’s a great learning experience! Because Explore is such a hands-on school, participation makes us much more interested in the outcome of the election.” Some students abstained from the vote and a few may not have taken it seriously, Harambe for President.

Over all, they enjoyed the process, learned from the experience and were glad to have their voices heard. They will be sure to discuss tomorrow’s election with their families and friends.

Thinking Pink at Explore 2000 Middle School

Explore 2000 Middle School students and staff are making strides against breast cancer! The proceeds of two Think Pink NUT (No Uniform Today) Days, donut and ribbon sales, totaling $300 were donated to “Jersey City’s Making Strides” 5k, represented by our facilitator, Frances Bermas.
Staff and students proudly wore pink while buying commemorative ribbons and donuts, with pink icing, of course!
This fundraiser was led by the Hawks, 1st year advisory as part of Explore 2000’s “adopt a cause.”

Explore 2000 Students Explore – Nicaragua

My Adventure To Nicaragua

by Adelina Parra


     Last week I traveled to Nicaragua for a vacation. I had a very amazing trip. In this report, I will be telling you all about it. I learned some new things and I had fun. There are such beautiful places to visit in Nicaragua. There are stylish clothing stores. Nicaragua has many fun cultural activities.

Sacuanjoche (The National Flower)

     The Sacuanjoche is Nicaragua’s national flower. It grows on the Plumeria tree and blooms around May. It’s also called the May Flower. The name of the flower comes from the Nahuatl word “xacuan” or “sacuan” which means “beautiful yellow petals” and their word for flower, “xochilt” or “joche.” The Sacuanjoche has no nectar to attract bees. Sphinx moths are attracted to the blossoms by their fragrance which is strongest at night and then the moths do the job of pollinating them.
     The colors of the flowers can be yellow on the inside and white on the outside or yellow on the inside and pink on the outside.

El Gigante (A beach in Nicaragua)

     This is a very popular beach. The name of this beach translates into English as The Giant. El Gigante has fresh, clear water. (Even though I had to wash sand out of my hair for 2 days.) When I went, it was a very hot day. El Gigante is located in Tola,Managua. I went with my grandma’s 5 sisters and 1 brother. It was very fun.

El Teatro Nacional Ruben Dario

     I attended the national theater of Ruben Dario. Ruben Dario was a Nicaraguan poet. At the theater, I saw the ballet called Sleeping Beauty. This ballet was performed by Russians. I like it a lot! Many people come from all over the world to see ballets and plays in this theater. On the same day I went, the resident Nicaragua’s daughter came to watch Sleeping Beauty.

Explore 2000 Middle Schools Revs Up for STEM Race Car Competition (Jersey City, NJ)

Campers of Explore 2000 just completed their first week of Summer STEM Race Car Challenge.  Girls and boys throughout Hudson County, from various schools within our community have been actively engaged in forming teams, designing logos, creating air-propelled puff mobiles, testing cars, trial races and practicing their driving and technical skills with the race cars. “I am having a lot of fun!” exclaimed Kai of Jersey City, 6th grade.

Everyone enjoyed their week and only had positive things to say about their experience, students, teachers and observers. “The first day of the camp was challenging, but then I got used to helping my team. Now it’s really fun! I like to take the lead in racing the car because that is a strong ability of mine,” explained Jonas of Jersey City, 5th grade.

The culminating activity was a race competition among the campers. The winning team proved steadfast through the races.  Bringing in 1st Place was Team Electrix: all from Jersey City – Henry, 5th grader,  incoming 6th grade student, Daniela and 8th grade student, Patrick.  

Teamwork Results in Victory with Principal A. Lin-Rodriquez and Consultants from STEM Education, LLC.

“It was an exciting race and we are proud of all of the participants who showed creativity, perseverance, teamwork and good sportsmanship,” stated Ms. Rapaport, STEM Camp Facilitator.
We also had some special student guests who came to support the race from The A. Harry Moore School. The race was even announced by their very own Charity.  Camper Kevin, 8th grader of West New York added, “I have met amazing people and it was always fun to have a one-on-one race against them.”
“I think I definitely improved on my racing skills. I believe I will keep my strategy the same as before, slow and easy, since it worked for me before; I think that if I keep using that technique, I’ll get better,” shared Zaynab of Jersey City, 7th grade student.
Thanks to the professional development provided by STEM Education LLC and the support of the HCST Foundation, our first STEM Camp has been a strong success for these campers! While the activities were exciting and hands-on, it was almost impossible to detect the hidden Science and Math lessons. Who knew there was so much to be learned from racing remote controlled cars????

We plan to continue these winning activities during our final week with an Ultimate Race Car Competition to be held on Friday, July 29th.

Explore 2000 Middle School and Project Lead the Way

Explore 2000 Middle School was funded by the Verizon foundation for the 2015-16 school year to implement the Project Lead The Way curriculum for Design and Modeling. Throughout the school year, students explored their creative sides while working in a S.T.E.M. environment.

One of the projects that stood out was Aidan Gonzalez’s UFO assembly using the Autodesk Inventor application. This software allows students to create and design anything they can imagine. Aidan’s imagination led to the creation of a UFO, which he successfully designed utilizing this software. This software is advanced because of the knowledge required of the many tools in order to successfully manipulate objects within the program. Because of Aidan’s willingness to learn, he displayed mastery in specific tools, which allowed him to create what he envisioned.

Aidan added, “In Ms. Benito’s after school program, I learned many things about the process of Designing and Modeling. The Design Process is a series of steps in which each step contains a certain set of criteria to advance to the next step. During our project-based work sessions, we also designed actual products, one of them being a pegboard. Using the skills and technological knowledge from previous lessons, I came up with the idea for a UFO. I started exploring the various sculpting tools in the Autodesk Inventor program during this short period of time. I was able to continue working on the project with Ms. Benito in the after school program. After she examined the work I currently had on the file at that time, she said we would work on it together and make it the best it could be so it could soon be printed. With the help of Ms. Benito, and the advanced tools of the 3D application, I was able to create the UFO you see before you.”

Explore 2000 Middle School Students On the Ropes Course


On May 25, 2016, the Explore 2000 1st Year and  2nd Year students participated in the Ropes Course at Ring Homestead Camp in Middletown, NY. They supported and encouraged each other while having fun and overcoming their fears on the zip line, tightrope, trapeze and many other team-building activities.

First Year were grouped with their Second Year mentors as an opportunity to solidify and strengthen their bonds before welcoming the new group of 1st Years in September. This activity was made possible by the generosity of Linda Quentzel and the HCST Foundation.

The “Outdoor Ropes Confidence Course” is designed to challenge the students physically and mentally while building team spirit, collaborating, self-esteem, self-confidence and developing problem solving strategies.

The students reacted to the field experience: Jordan, a 1st Year student said, “I learned that if you put your mind to something, you can get it done!”
First Year student Jeremy reflected, “It was a good way to face fears and find adventure. We also got to practice teamwork skills.”
Jaylin, a 1st Year student, said, “It was liberating!” 
Second Year student Ariana stated, “It was a way to boost my confidence and get rid of my fears!”
Patrick, a 2nd Year student felt, “It helped to created a stronger bond between first and second year students.”
Finally, Second Year student Andrew explained, “It felt good to support and encourage my friends and classmates. It was also a lot of fun!”

Explore 2000 Middle School Hosts Festivus Maximus!!! Saturday, June 4th

(Jersey City, NJ) For almost two decades, Hudson County Schools of Technology’s Explore 2000 Middle School has celebrated the unity of the school and students’ achievements with an annual Spring Celebration.

Fortunate to now have its own learning facility, the Student/Parent Advisory Council has taken its annual celebration to a whole new level by introducing Explorefest 2016: Festivus Maximus!!!

Join the entire HCST Explore 2000 Family for a day of fun!!! Come happy, come hungry!

There will be a live DJ all day, Amazing Eric’s Magic Show at 2 PM…free to the public! Plus, community booths to serve you: Meet members of the Jersey City Fire Department, Hudson County Improvement Authority & TMA featuring information about Hudson County’s new public golf course, Skyway.

American BBQ Company will be grilling fresh corn, burgers and hot dogs from 1-4 PM. And a local favorite, Carmines Famous Brick Oven Pizza Truck will be vending pies all day!

Special Snack Visits from Mr. Softee and Cupcakes by Jeannie. Treat yourselves to Funnel Cakes, Popcorn, Italian Ices, Explore’s Iced Coffee Station and Chef Mario’s summer Lemonade!

Purchase your activity wrist bands from 1 PM-5 PM to Climb the Rock Wall if you dare! Bounce and compete in our Inflatable Rides, play life-sized Games, create with Spin Art…win prizes!

And don’t forget to get silly in Explore’s photo booth…Want to make a splash??? Volunteer to be dunked in our Dunk Tank.

Thanks to generous donations, there will be raffles from Goya, Wow-We Robo sapien, LG 32″ LED TV and much more…

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES still available, please visit: http://vols.pt/gpuiuz 

All proceeds support our Explore 2000 Student Project Fund.

Explore 2000 Middle School Students Tour the Sterling Hill Mining Museum

On April 26, 2016, the students of Explore 2000 Middle School became miners exploring the Sterling Hill Mining Museum. They took the tour through the mining tunnel, experiencing recreations of what the miners saw and did many years ago. They walked through tunnels and shafts that looked ready for work, peopled with mannequins dressed in authentic costumes with tools and machinery dating as far back as the 1830’s. There were also rooms below ground exhibiting collections of the old tools. The Rainbow Room shows many of the fluorescent rocks and other items that fluoresce in the ultraviolet light. The room and the tunnel nearby show off the fluorescent qualities of the types of zinc that were the main ore minerals found in the mine.

 The Thomas S. Warren Museum of Fluorescence showed cases of the minerals found in the mine. Each case displayed at least twenty examples of a specific mineral type. The fluorescent theme of the museum is demonstrated by minerals from many parts of the country with explanations of the activators that cause the glow. It even contains a room devoted to the history of the development of ultraviolet lights.

Ore wasn’t the only thing found by the miners. Fossils also came from the mine, including the bones of dinosaurs. The Zobel Exhibit Hall contains a life-size reproduction of a Tyrannosaurus Rex skull, dinosaur bones, their footprints in a slab of stone, eggs, and petrified wood. The Exhibit Hall also features a periodic table display with 112 sections, each containing a real example of the element and some information about it. There’s also the Edison room with displays of Edison’s New Jersey iron mining operation along with some of his inventions. The Hall has ore specimens and displays and even meteorites.

An entry from a miner’s diary as imagined by a First Year student:

Miner Diary Entry
by Yazan Baghdady

January 15, 1986
I found out today that the mine is closing in a few months. I’ve been working very hard to get overtime pay and searching for both jobs and minerals to sell to collectors, but I can’t find either. Today I almost took my tag home, but I remembered. Thank god I don’t have to clean the toilets in two days. I feel kind of bad for the new miner, Richard Dixon. He forgot his tag twice, and his light went out when he was on level 18. However, instead of staying put, as any normal miner would, Dixon wandered around and almost got blown up. The boss had to pay 20 miners overtime to find him, so Dixon is probably going to clean the honeypots on Friday, unless someone does something stupider, which is unlikely, given our jobs are on the line. The bosses have been laying off bad miners left and right to prepare for the closing of the mine. I’m lucky that I’m bringing in a decent amount of zinc, but it’s been getting harder to find. Honestly, I think that we’ve mined most of the zinc to find. I’m not crazy about being a miner, but I have to be able to support myself. Anyway, I’m getting desperate, especially because other miners are finding gems when I can’t. By now, I’m looking more for gems than zinc. One of the only interesting things that happened this week was that Michael Fettick almost fell into the crusher while breaking rocks. To finish this entry, I’m still looking for a job, but I have an interview next week. If this is ever read, wish me luck.

A First Year student, Lorey Cutkelvin, wrote about her experience:

Stirling Hill Mining Museum
Explore 2000 Middle School were hired as miners at the Sterling Hill Mining Museum. We learned all about the life, responsibilities and requirements of a miner. One of the things we learned was about how they used canaries to help identify when there was carbon dioxide in the air. We all give a huge thank you to the great guides and entire facility at the mine for making this learning experience amazing.

Explore 2000 Students Win Recycled Regatta at Earthfest

On May 14, 2016, the eighth grade Explore 2000 team of Daniel McClain and Aaron Joshua with Crew Captain, Frank Colaluca won first place in the recycled regatta at the third annual Earthfest in Overpeck Park. It was the first time the Explore teams such an event with these boats. Afterwards, Daniel McClain said, “I was scared until we got into the boat and then I was like, ‘Oh, this is going to float.’ I think we were scared just because we knew we built it from the ground up.” The event is the highlight of the annual celebration of the outdoors. The Earthfest event is hosted by the Hackensack Riverkeeper, North Jersey’s leading advocate for clean water.

Amid green vendors, live music, and other activities meant to teach and demonstrate the reduce, reuse and recycle theme, the Regatta is a race on the Hackensack Creek in vessels made from used and recycled materials. At least 80% of the vessel must be made of such materials. Plastic bags and Styrofoam are not allowed because they are damaging to the waterways. The racing vessels have to be self-propelled with bonus point awarded for homemade paddles. They must contain at least two people, including a designated Crew Captain. Strict safety rules must be followed and safety gear including life vests must be worn. To win, the team must remain in the vessel and it should cross the finish line with all pieces on board. Any part that falls off must be retrieved in the spirit of discarding nothing in the waterways. Teams have to carry logos of any sponsors they have and the logos of the Earthfest sponsors too. Teams are expected to raise money for Hackensack Riverkeeper and an award is given for the team that raises the most money. The complete list of requirements for the annual race are here.
The Explore 2000 students in the Hands On Learning and Design (HOLD) program which promotes experimental learning, designed, built and launched two vessels made of recycled materials. Their projects were made from used pickle barrels, PVC pipe and empty soda bottles. The eighth grade team rowed to the first place win and the second boat, rowed by the seventh grade team of Andrew Kibalo and Angel Pinto led by Crew Captain Lauren Norcia, tied for second place. An article from NorthJersey.com can be found here.
Ms. Amy Lin-Rodriguez, Explore 2000’s principal said, “The Recycled Regatta was a great opportunity for our learners to combine physical fitness with STEM, under the supportive leadership of facilitator Frank Colaluca.”
President of the HCST Foundation which supplies financial support for the HOLD program, Daniel Gans said, “Congratulations to all the participating students.”  
Frank J. Gargiulo, HCST district superintendent, added, “This is a fine achievement that demonstrates authentic learning and I’m proud of the work of the student and their instructors,”   
HCST Foundation Executive Director Linda J. Quentzel said, “We were proud to support the HOLD program and we are glad to see this endeavor having success. A hearty congrats to Aaron and Daniel on their victory!”

Explore 2000 Announces Summer STEM Camp

The Explore 2000 Middle School announced the opening of registration for its Science, Technology, engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Summer Camp 2016, which will take place from July 18th through July 29th. Students entering fifth through eighth grades in the fall of 2016 are eligible to apply and will be taught by certified teachers from Explore 2000 and certified facilitators from STEM Education, LLC.

“We are excited for the 2016 STEM Summer Camp,” said Explore 2000 Principal Amy Lin-Rodriguez. “Thanks in part to the HCST Foundation, students will have the opportunity to learn about the STEM field in a fun and interactive manner.”

The STEM Summer Camp seeks to prepare campers for the future as engineers, scientists, business marketing and creative professional. Through comprehensive math and science lessons, the camper will better understand the concepts and skills needed to be tomorrow’s technology and business leaders.

“This is an innovative approach to teaching, we believe that proper instruction, teamwork, competition and challenge will allow our campers to build a passion for the STEM field,” said Lin-Rodriguez.

Through the national STEM Initiative, campers will learn the STEM field by designing and racing model race cars and participating in a Student Racecar Challenge. The students will compete as part of a team using electric radio control cars.

The tuition will be $375 for the two week session, and includes all supplies and camper t-shirts. Those interested in taking part in the STEM Summer Camp can call (201) 631-6396. http://www.hcstonline.org/explore2000/stem-camp.html