Calhoun City School students and twin brothers Ryan and Reese Hood countdown, “Five! Four! Three! Two! One!” before pushing a button to launch their personally decorated rocket soaring into the air over the basketball courts, before chasing it down as the rocket slowly floats back towards earth.
These are just three of the kids participating in two of the many summer camps Calhoun City Schools is offering its students this year.
Calhoun City Schools has started their summer programs for children and participation is in full swings, punches, kicks, and yelling.
Do not be dismayed however, because these swings, punches, kicks and yelling are all a part of one of the many programs offered at Calhoun City Schools this summer.
Personal safety and defense
Scoggins is one of a class of ten children participating in the RAD kids program. The Resisting Aggression Defensively, RAD, program offers age specific activities and education, teaching students ages five through 12, self protection practices against bullies and strangers.
“It is about empowerment for children and how to defend themselves if they ever needed to,” said Calhoun City School Special Education Paraprofessional and certified RAD kids instructor Katie Clark. “As teachers and parents we all try to help them the best we can, but it’s ultimately their job to defend themselves if they needed to. That’s what this is teaching them. It’s teaching them moves along with words and how to defend themselves.”
Clark explains that for the younger children, the RAD acronym is explained more lightly, as “the cool kids who don’t let anyone hurt them,” but the message and practices are just as effective.
Scoggins mother, Amy Scoggins, says her first grade son greatly enjoys coming to the camps and is participating in more than one.
Clark teaches two age groups at different times and says the exercises depending on the age groups changes.
“The older kids have a little bit stronger moves, they can do different things that these young kids can’t yet, running and things are more intense for the little kids,” said Clark.
Self-empowerment is what Clark likes to see taught to these young children and says that she greatly enjoys teaching the program and plans to teach again next year.
“This is my first time ever doing RAD kids. I am absolutely loving it, and I am very passionate about it. It’s teaching the kids to believe in themselves and building self confidence within them, and to me that’s key in any person, so I love that,” said Clark.
The Georgia Youth Science and Technology Centers (GYSTC), housed at Kennesaw State University, partnered with the Calhoun Community Education program to bring rocket launches and a passion for science to the children of Calhoun City Schools.
GYSTC is a statewide program, and was able to partner with Calhoun City Schools for the first time to ignite inspiration for students to pursue careers and education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, (STEM), according to GYSTC program specialist Antonio Figueras.
“It was an aviation camp sponsored by GYSTC with the hope of inspiring students to pursue STEM related careers,” said Figueras. “We did everything from testing Styrofoam gliders, to building airplanes and it all culminated in a rocket launch at the end of the week.”
One grandmother in attendance, Shiela Hood, looked on as her twin grandsons Reese and Ryan Hood counted down before pushing the button to launch their group’s rocket.
“Everyday they have come home excited and showed me what they made in class,” said Sheila Hood. “They seem to have gotten interested in math and science more than they were before this. That’s great. I am so excited. They bring home these airplanes and show me how they work. We have really enjoyed having them here.”
Though the GYSTC program is new, Figueras says he hopes to continue the partnership between GYSTC and Calhoun City Schools in the future.
Additionally, Community Education director for Calhoun City Schools, Michelle Griffith, there has been positive feedback from the students as well as the parents.