At the World Maker Faire held at the New York Hall of Science, in a Middle Ages style setting complete with a fire-breathing dragon, the Garden School Amateur Radio Club won the Editor’s Choice Award blue ribbon for innovation, creativity and ingenuity. It is one of the highest honors at the faire. Just one year old, K2GSG is the only school based radio club in NYC. Through the leadership of advisor John Hale and the mentoring of the Hall of Science Amateur Radio Club and the American Radio Relay League, the club is quickly distinguishing itself on a national level.
The Garden School exhibit was on the far end of a field dotted with hundreds of tents and tables, but that didn’t deter a steady throng of enthusiastic visitors of all ages who wanted to participate in the workshop provided by the club. Members distributed free Morse Code kits and helped faire-goers assemble them at the table. For a solid eight hours on Saturday in 90 degree September sun, the Radio Club’s table was surrounded with visitors waiting for a seat to assemble their kits. Wearing protective goggles and wielding soldering irons, club members mentored close to 300 visitors who then assembled their own kits, taking home Morse Code keys that can transmit by sound and light. Attendance at the table was so strong that the club literally ran out of kits at the end of the first day.
Among the notables who stopped by the table was Mr. Mark Kupferberg of the Kupferberg Center for the Arts at Queens College, whose family donated Garden’s first suite of laptops and launched the school into the twenty-first century. He was impressed by the professionalism of the club and the ease with which the members fielded questions and shared their knowledge.
Club members range from 6th to 12th grade. From the youngest to the oldest, all the members who staffed the exhibit showed unflagging enthusiasm and willingness to engage with the crowds. It’s not a surprise that they were noted, but still a thrill that among hundreds of exhibits from all over the country they earned a blue ribbon. Garden is indeed a small school doing great things! ~ Written by Ms. Massad