The Board of Education and Superintendent Fred Sanderson were recently invited by Major General Terry Nesbitt of the Georgia Army National Guard to visit the STARBASE program at Dobbins Air Reserve Base and the Youth Challenge Academy in Augusta, two unique educational programs for Georgia students. However, this was no ordinary road trip; the group had a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter waiting at Dobbins to transport them eastbound!
MG Nesbitt began the day by showing off the Georgia National Guard’s STARBASE program at Dobbins. STARBASE exposes students and their teachers to real world applications of math, science, aviation and technology, while addressing positive life skills, character building, drug abuse prevention and teamwork. After learning about the principles of flight in a classroom environment, students move into the Lockheed Martin Technology Center where they can apply the principles they’ve learned on flight simulators. The Board and Superintendent spent time observing STARBASE and interacting with students in a classroom setting.
Soon after, the group boarded the helicopter and took flight towards Fort Gordon in Augusta. They arrived at the Youth Challenge Academy, a program that provides “at-risk” youth with academic and life skills training aimed at improving employment potential and creating productive citizens. Students take part in one of two, five-and-a-half month residential sessions, followed by a year-long post-residential phase. Upon completion of the program, students earn the Youth Challenge Academy Diploma and the General Equivalency Diploma (GED). The academy graduates approximately 270 students annually.
The Board and Superintendent enjoyed lunch with the academy cadets and embarked on a tour of the facilities at Fort Gordon. Following the tour, the group re-boarded the helicopter and returned to Marietta.