Alystaire Higgins, a fourth-grader at Fairmont Elementary School, recently won the coveted Dr. Luis W. Alvarez Supernova Award. According to the local Johnson City Boy Scouts of America Sequoyah Council, Higgins – a member of Den 22, Pack 35 – is one of the first scouts to receive the award, which requires extensive focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).
Higgins gravitated toward STEM projects last school year. The Boy Scouts of America is following and supporting curriculum standards for science, technology, engineering, and math existing in schools to encourage, enhance, and enrich the scout’s curiosity using activities ranging from archery to welding.
With a father who works in engineering, Higgins spent last school year working with adult counselors and mentors to explore the basic principles of STEM while pursuing the BSA STEM Nova and Supernova awards. There were 10 modules for the Nova award and an overall challenge module for the Supernova award. Higgins visited local museums, a fish hatchery, wildlife preserves and other places observing and gathering the information needed to complete the modules as well as additional experiments.
In order to receive the Supernova award, Higgins had to go above and beyond. He studied the work of Dr. Alvarez and completed a demanding series of experiments and tasks in order to receive the prestigious honor.
Higgins is the son of Michael Higgins and Carol Odom-Higgins and the grandson of Buddy and Barbara Odom.