Approximately 1,000 Students Visit Bethune-Bowman Middle/High School in Rowesville
By Stuart Morgan
Rowesville, S.C. (Feb. 18-20, 2014) — Orangeburg County consolidated school districts hosted a three-day Celebrate Freedom Foundation SOaR™ (Student/School Opportunities and Rewards) Program at Bethune-Bowman Middle/High School in Rowesville for approximately 1,000 local students from Feb. 18 to 20. Graduation ceremonies, originally scheduled for Feb. 21, were cancelled due to weather but will be re-scheduled later.
CFF’s Project SOaR™ is an educational outreach program that supports STEM courses (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) in middle and high schools. The program also informs students of the opportunities that are available to them, particularly in the field of aviation.
“STEM subjects are not just important, they are essential to the success of millions of children who hope for a profitable future,” said Dr. Russell David, CFF’s Aviation/Aerospace Education Director. “Orangeburg County school officials realize the importance of having their students exposed to the benefits and career opportunities that come from having knowledge in and of STEM subjects. We’re living in the Age of Technology, and the Celebrate Freedom Foundation wants to inform students and their parents of the importance of STEM courses as early as primary school, so that students still have time to benefit from taking such courses.
Students from Orangeburg County Consolidated School District Three visited Bethune-Bowman Middle/High School on Feb. 18, students from District Five visited the school on Feb. 19, and students from District 4 visited the school on Feb. 20.
¡ Given specific reasons why they should stay in school and concentrate on STEM courses
¡ Learned the importance of college and value of other educational opportunities, such as technical schools and those provided by the U.S. Military
¡ Met people, including pilots and instructors, who have succeeded in the aviation/aerospace industry and
¡ Learned about the income they can expect to earn if they work in the aviation/aerospace industry, as early as two years after graduating from high school.
Each day, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., CFF displayed its AH-1 Cobra Attack Helicopter, Annie. CFF personnel, including pilots and instructors, also talked with students each of the three days.
Orangeburg County Fire, EMS and SWAT personnel setup displays and talked with students as well. Representatives of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP), including a rocketry expert, setup displays and explained CAP’s STEM initiative. Sunshine Solutions of Orangeburg showed one of its monster wrecking machines.
Dr. Jacqueline H. Inabinette, Executive Director of Federal Programs and Student Services, Orangeburg County Consolidated School District Five, said the CFF SOaR™ visit was important, because it was an “out-of-the-box experience” for our students and teachers designed to help ensure continued success for students.
“The most important lessons I hope parents, students and others learned as a result of the visit,” she added, “is the importance of our young people investing in STEM courses from their kindergarten through high school years to create a strong academic foundation. These courses are equally as important as reading, writing and arithmetic to equip our children with the knowledge and skills needed to perform at a college and/or career-ready-level upon graduation from high school. The SOaR™ visit enhanced career exploration, awareness and career decisions that some students might not have thought about as career opportunities.”
Joe Rich of Sunshine Recycling said the unique approach that the CFF SOaR™ program takes toward STEM subjects, and its ability to inspire students is key to the program’s success.
“A SOaR™ visit ignites that fire,” Rich said. “It really inspires kids to see beyond where they are at a particular age and where they possibly would like to be, and translates that back to the classroom. This encourages students to make decisions and select courses at an age that will help them build toward their career goals.”
The U.S. Military already recognizes the importance of STEM courses.
“The Celebrate Freedom Foundation — with its pilots, instructors and helicopters — is especially well-suited to motivate students,” said Capt. Joseph E. Texidor, commander of the U.S. Army’s Augusta (Ga.) Recruiting Company, “because students are able to learn first-hand from the pilots and instructors the complexities of these amazing machines — how they fly, the physics involved and about all of the mechanical parts that make these machines work. For students, it’s very thrilling to actually be able to see and put their hands on something like a helicopter.”
Sgt. 1st. Class Pippin, commander of the U.S. Army’s Orangeburg Recruiting Center, said STEM subjects are very important to what the U.S. Army does today, and that such subjects will become more important to the Army in the future.
“Subjects like science, technology, engineering and math are in high demand,” she added, “and students, who dedicate themselves to these subjects, will find that many opportunities will open up to them. They’ll become successful at finding jobs.”
Sponsoring the upcoming CFF SOaR™ visit are the U.S.
Army, Joe Rich of Sunshine Recycling of Orangeburg, and
Orangeburg County Consolidated school districts.