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As the saying goes, “All good things must come to an end.” This past Friday was the last day of Eureka!, also known as Eurekathon, a banquet that allows the young girls to celebrate all their accomplishments this summer with food, music, a talent show, a photo booth, and a chance to say goodbye to their favorite camp counselors. During this event, however, I had not internalized the fact that I would never see these girls again. I was merely having fun with the girls like it was a normal day of Eureka!

Eurekathon made me realize several things that I had not appreciated before. The first being how talented the girls were. Saying I was taken aback by the young performers in the talent show is an understatement. There was singing, dancing, poetry, and even pantomiming. It was beautiful to see as I can confidently say that each and every girl who performed indeed had some raw talent.

Another realization I had was that I had built a rapport and fostered relationships with these girls. I was on my feet the whole day taking pictures and dancing with the girls as they had incessantly asked me to. It was a good feeling to see how much they enjoyed my company and having me as their STEM teacher.

The final realization I had was that my summer has certainly been meaningful as I had made a difference in these girls’ lives, just as I had hoped for at the start of this program. My only goal for the summer was to motivate and empower these girls by making them excited about science. Nonetheless, my goal was achieved. As Eurekathon progressed, the girls were instructed to write notes to the Girls Inc. staff as some would not return next summer. Needless to say, at the end of the day, I was in tears as I read all the notes in my Mason Jar. The notes were filled with appreciation and gratitude for my hard work and the fun STEM lessons I taught, from the computer language–Binary–to building circuits with real-life protoboards, wires, batteries, resistors, and LEDs.

With my DukeEngage experience coming to its expected end, I am experiencing feelings of sadness yet content. Despite never seeing the young girls again, I know that I accomplished a lot this summer. I achieved my goal of empowering at least one girl through STEM, and I certainly impacted my Orange County community as well. Overall, I am glad to say that my DukeEngage experience is over because I know that I made a change.