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The final days of Eureka were bittersweet. Although I was excited about the annual Eurekathon, I was sad to say our inevitable goodbyes. As the girls knew camp was coming to an end, I was asked time and time again, “Will you be coming back as a counselor next year?” Unfortunately, I had to look into their hopeful eyes and explain that while I would not be returning, they would be getting a new batch of Duke Engage students. Even though they were disappointed, their reactions conveyed how much we have connected with them and impacted their summer experiences.

At Eurekathon, one girl from each of the six groups gave a speech about how Eureka has caused them to grow and how much this camp means to each of them. Having mostly worked with the high school students throughout the summer, I was sad to see that many of them would be graduating Eureka. For the tenth grader’s speech, two of my girls got on stage and began detailing their experiences from their first summer as a seventh grader to now. At the end of their speech, it got very emotional since they knew they would not be returning the following each. However, I knew that both of them would go off to do bigger and better things.

Throughout my STEM classes, I have witness each student experience personal growth, whether it be gaining self confidence, learning to enjoy doing STEM, or simply coming out of their comfort zones. The girls impressed me each and every single day with their creative solutions, incredible accomplishments, and dedicated friendships. On the last day of camp, I made sure to let them know what they are truly capable of achieving in the future.