Local youth experienced a seismic shift in the way they learn Wednesday after attending an all-expense paid trip to the San Jose Earthquakes home game versus the Houston Dynamos.
They weren’t there just to kick the ball around. While honing techniques, kids were taught lessons such as Newton’s Laws of Motion and how scientific concepts behind gravity and mass apply to their sport. It’s part of an ongoing effort by Chevron Richmond to get kids excited about STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), and it culminated Wednesday with a special experience at Avaya Stadium in San Jose.
Chevron sent the kids to the game as part of a partnership with Telemundo.
Local youth who had never before been to a professional soccer game were given the VIP treatment. While some got to stand in line to high-five players as they entered the field, others participated mid-field during the pre-game ceremonies.
It was a special night at the stadium, as well, as the Quakes celebrated Mexican Heritage Month with kids activities, a live band and Luche libre wrestling.
“For the kids this was amazing,” said Yarery Gil, wife of Richmond youth soccer Coach Arturo Gil. “This is the first time I think they’re going to see a soccer game live, basically.”
And while they enjoyed the game, which the Quakes won 3-1, they were challenged to consider the scientific concepts they had learned while watching the professional athletes.
“They learned a lot,” Gil said.
Some of the Chevron engineers who volunteered their time to speak with the kids joined them at the game. Engineer Jourdan Beaumont said he witnessed some “ah-ha” moments while teaching kids scientific principles.
“We try to make it exciting so kids realize that everyday when they play soccer, they make these calculations in their head, they experience these laws in different ways,” he said, “and just to be aware of it and realize if that’s something that interests you, you will be able to understand more about how the world works.”
Chevron has also partnered with the Oakland A’s and San Francisco 49ers on science-of-the-sport programs. With the A’s, for example, it partnered on a STEM Zone and “Science of the Game” workbook. The company also funded the nation’s largest fabrication lab at a public high school at Kennedy High in Richmond and routinely funds STEM-related projects requested by local teachers through DonorsChoose.org.
The company says it hopes to provide more education opportunities for Richmond area youth while building a workforce for the Refinery’s future.