Schools across the world are thinking of new and innovative ways to keep students learning in a safe, fun environment. Last year, the students and faculty from San Miguel Academy took a trip to Bedford, New York to visit the Malcolm Pray Vintage Car Museum. Because they couldn’t travel there this year due to the pandemic, the museum came to them.
On Thursday, September 24 students at the San Miguel Academy had the opportunity to view four vintage cars from the early 20th century.
The Malcolm Pray Achievement center uses vintage cars to help incentivize young people with the desire to be successful and shows how working hard can pay off. The program encourages students to think about future careers by introducing them to the field of entrepreneurism.
“We want students to be engaged and think ‘hey, let’s take a look at this car, what was going on at the time, and the design of the car,’” said Executive Director Marikay Satryano.
Each car being from a different decade allowed the students to learn about the history of each and how they evolved throughout the years.
There was a Model T, Volkswagen Beetle, World War II Jeep and a 1956 Packard Executive.
“It lets them see how technology has changed and how innovation has changed across the models,” said Vice President Frank Snyder. “They get an idea of how cars became. They’re so ubiquitous to us but at one point they weren’t.”
The students were broken up into small groups and had the opportunity prior to research each car over the two days before with worksheets that had guiding questions to steer their prep work.
“It’s a nice connection between the online world and the real world,” said Snyder.
Satryano stressed the importance of having students take a break from the screen and to learn hands-on when possible. The program allowed the in-class lesson to come to life.
“There’s nothing better than walking around and looking at tires, seeing they’re made of wood by hearing the sound they make, rubbing the tire and seeing there’s no tread on it,” said Satryano. “You can’t get that from a screen.”
Additionally, the students were able to better understand the connection between the 1900s Model T and how many of Newburgh’s buildings date back to the same time period.
“Malcolm Pray leveraged his car collection for the greatest good,” said Satryano. “That’s sharing it with the younger generation because there is so much that you can teach with a car.”
The San Miguel Academy is a fifth through eighth grade all-boys middle school that strives to break the cycle of poverty in Newburgh through education. Additionally, they work closely with their students and have a 12-year alumni and graduate support and resource program.
“It begins here at the middle school, but we follow them throughout high school and college, serving the students and their families,” said San Miguel Academy’s Director of Development Melissa Paul. “We try to have them engaged in every possible way, like with the event today.”
It is their 16th year and they are moving from leasing their building to buying it, a stride toward more permanent roots in the City. The San Miguel Academy has 60 students at a time.
“This is the first time we’ve done this program,” said Satryano. “I could not think of a better school to launch this with. The students were so attentive and you could see them light up.”
The San Miguel Academy also partners with other educational institutions like the Storm King Art Center and Mohonk Preserve.
San Miguel Academy is also hosting a “Defying the Odds” virtual dinner on October 8. For more information on the San Miguel Academy of Newburgh visit newburghsanmiguel.org.