, Muskogee, OK

Local News

March 29, 2014

Families turn out for Tinker Fest fundraiser

Tape, straws, popsicle sticks, paper, and Play-doh were scattered over table tops waiting to be tinkered with at the first-ever Tinker Fest.

“The children need something to influence them to go out and conquer the world,” said Theresa Mayle, grandmother of Ashley Mayle, team captain of the Muskogee High School Robotics team.

Tinker Fest acted as the initial fundraiser for the proposed Muskogee Arts and Science Center. Derryl Venters, president of the arts and science center, said the night was about exploration, creation, and awareness for science.

“What’s happened here tonight, where we see the families coming together and parents are actually inspiring their children to appreciate science, solve problems, and at the same time have a creative thought experience. This same kind of thing will take place often, all the time when the Muskogee Arts and Science Center is open for business,” Venters said.

Younger participants like 8-year-old Andrew Fawcett and his sister, Merideth Fawcett, 3, played the classic arcade game PAC-MAN in-between building bridges out of straws.

The arcade game was built by members of the robotics team including Mayle.

Laura Fawcett, mother of Andrew and Merideth Fawcett, graduated from Muskogee High School. She said science and art are very important.

“I think the combination of science and art together is such an important thing for kids to be exposed to at any age,” Fawcett said.

Retired speech language pathologist Suzie Buck, along with her husband Wayne Buck, watched their granddaughter Ryleigh Milligan, 4, create a flower out of play dough and a popsicle stick.

Suzie Buck said Ryleigh watched with awe as the robot presented by the robotics team moved across the stage.

“This type of thing makes such an impact on children,” she said.

Buck said she was thrilled about the science center.

“We have to prepare these little ones,” she said.

Throughout the evening seven different contests took place.

The competition phase started with a paper airplane contest and was followed by design of a musical instrument, bridge design challenge, need-for-speed race, art gallery, form and function design, and catapult design.

Mayle said she thinks it’s very important to raise awareness in the community in regards to science.

Mayle is a senior and plans to attend Oklahoma State University to study engineering. Mayle said she has dreams of creating scientific advances.

“I want to make prosthetic legs that move when your neurons tell it to,” Mayle said.

Her grandmother said she is very proud of her.

“She is going to help a lot of people,” said Theresa Mayle.

Reach E.I. Hillin at (918) 684-2926 or

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