St. John's Lutheran STEM program earns recognition

SAGINAW — St. John’s Lutheran School was recently honored with several awards at the Great Lakes Bay Regional Chief Science Officer (CSO) Awards, held at Saginaw Valley State University. 

The CSO program is an international program to promote STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) programs for students in grades 6-12. Representatives are chosen by their teachers and peers to represent their middle or high school in a regional consortium with other area CSOs.

In Michigan, the program is hosted by Saginaw Valley State University and is directed by Mrs. Cole; it consists of approximately 80 students from 50 different schools in the Great Lakes Bay Region. The overall vision of the CSO program is to create a global network of diverse STEM leaders, as well as amplify the STEM culture and career awareness within their schools and communities.

At the 2022 CSO Awards dinner, Hayden Rozewski, a seventh grade student at St. John’s, won the award for “Outstanding CSO Action Plan.” Rozewski was given the award for St. John's Stemmies, an after-school STEM activity. Many students in grades 6-8 assisted with the Stemmies program, including eighth grader Kelly Derusha, who served as the other CSO representing St. John’s Lutheran School.

Hayden also won an award in 2021 for “Outstanding CSO” award in 2021 for producing the Stemmies program's "take home kits" during the COVID-19 pandemic.

St. John’s Lutheran middle school teacher and CSO Advisor Michael Hiddings won the Outstanding CSO Advisor award for the Great Lakes Bay Region East Cabinet, which was out of approximately 35-40 CSO advisors. He also received the Regional CSO Advisor of the Year award. This was a big honor, as this award was given out to only one of the CSO Advisors across multiple cabinets. 

St. John's Stemmies invites students in grades 1-4 to perform experiments over five weeks and learn about several foundational science principles. The students were able to perform hands-on experiments. They built bridges, testing structure design against weight applied. They created boats that would float when stressed with weight. They created rockets that launched to achieve max distance. They created parachutes, gaining a detailed understanding of design, weight and the impact this has on time of travel. The students built race cars complete with motors, which helped them gain a strong knowledge of design and the impact it has on distance and speed. Working in teams, students were shown examples but had 100% creative design ability that allowed them to think outside of the box.

To learn more about other educational opportunities at St. John’s Lutheran School, visit

Learn more about the international CSO program at and the local Great Lakes Bay Region chapter at