PRESIDENTIAL AWARD; Congressional Record Vol. 142, No. 143
(Senate - October 21, 1996)

Text available as:

Formatting necessary for an accurate reading of this text may be shown by tags (e.g., <DELETED> or <BOLD>) or may be missing from this TXT display. For complete and accurate display of this text, see the PDF.

[Pages S12424-S12425]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                           PRESIDENTIAL AWARD

 Mr. HATFIELD. Mr. President, on Wednesday, September 25, 1996, 
one of my favorite Oregon institutions was honored by the President of 
the United States. Saturday Academy of Oregon received the Presidential 
Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering 
Mentoring. The award was presented to Kathryn Gail Whitney, executive 
director of the academy since 1983, in a ceremony in the Indian Treaty 
Room of the Old Executive Office Building. I am pleased to add my 
congratulations to this deserving organization.
  This award includes a $10,000 grant and a Presidential commemorative 
certificate. It is given to individuals and institutions which have 
encouraged minorities, women, and persons with disabilities to earn 
degrees in science, mathematics, and engineering; 10 individuals and 6 
institutions were honored this year, the first year in which these 
awards were presented.
  Saturday Academy is a private, nonprofit precollege educational 
program established in 1983, and based at the Oregon Graduate Institute 
of Science & Technology in the Portland, OR, metropolitan area. Four 
other Saturday Academy centers are located in Oregon. The academy 
enlists accomplished professionals from industry, higher education, and 
community agencies to create hands-on classes and apprenticeships for 
motivated 6th-through 12th-grade students. While the program focuses on 
science, math, and technology, instruction includes arts and humanities 
as well.
  The academy began in 1983 with three classes: Materials science, 
electronics, and large computer systems. Even while growing rapidly, 
Saturday Academy has worked for inclusiveness. This is an important 
goal in science and math education--we need strategies to encourage 
greater participation of women and minorities. Saturday Academy has 
worked diligently to increase the enrollment of young women--it now has 
an even enrollment of both sexes.
  Gail Whitney's arrival as executive director when the program was 
only months old, brought a change in recruitment strategy. Academy 
press releases began to stress the search for motivated students rather 
than gifted ones. The change has been significant. Experience shows 
that students who may not fit a school system's gifted criteria are 
designing electrical components or operating a business. A child who is 
quiet or reserved in the larger classroom may thrive in the hands-on 
environment of eight peers.
  In 1983, the academy's roster listed 9 classes and 71 students. The 
following February, the figures increased to 19 classes and 200 
students. The 10th anniversary year of the program, 1993, found 40 
classes per term being offered. During the 1995-96 school year there

[[Page S12425]]

were 7,692 participants for a total of 214,000 instructional hours; 800 
professionals were involved as instructors or mentors.
  Mr. President, Gail Whitney and the founders of Saturday Academy 
represent one of the best models I have seen for cooperative private-
public efforts to enhance science and math education. Meaningful reform 
in science and math education has been at the top of my priority list 
for many of my years in Congress. I am thrilled to see this deserving 
recognition for one of Oregon's finest efforts.