Getting their track on trackTower View Alternative Learning Center’s location in the Anderson Center allows its students to take it peaceful wooded views and a quiet atmosphere.
By: Sarah Gorvin, The Republican Eagle
Tower View Alternative Learning Center’s location in the Anderson Center allows its students to take in peaceful wooded views and a quiet atmosphere.
However, the location doesn’t exactly provide ideal spaces for physical education classes. That’s why students in Ben Slagle and Maria Gallaradojohnson’s community interaction class are working to build a one-mile long track round the Anderson Center’s grounds.
But the class isn’t just about building a track. The goal is to teach students lessons they will be able to build on after they graduate.
“It’s centered around the idea of being involved in your community and problem solving,” Gallaradojohnson said.
Tower View began offering the community interaction class at the beginning of the school year. The class currently has six students enrolled.
The first thing students learned was the six steps to problem solving: identify the problem, analyze the problem, generate solutions, select and plan the solution, implement the solution and evaluate the solution.
Once they had those down, Gallaradojohnson and Slagle gave the students their real-life problem to solve. They simply told the students that they would like them to come up with a solution for the school’s lack of physical education space. And then they let the students brainstorm.
“We’re trying to let the kids figure this stuff out on their own,” Slagle said. “We facilitate.”
“It’s giving the points, and then saying ‘How are you going to do it?’” Gallaradojohnson added.
The students said they didn’t have any problems coming up with ideas.
“We just let our minds go,” student Audrea George said.
“We all compiled our thoughts together,” added student Tyler LaPorte. “We just tweaked it to where it would work.”
Once they settled on the track project, the students decided they wanted to also build four aerobic and strength-building stations along the track. While they haven’t yet settled on exactly what those stations will include, the class has several suggestions, including a stair climb, an agility ladder and a pull-up station.
“We wanted to make it so it can fit any age or ability level,” Slagle said.
The first semester was spent on development — drafting maps of the track’s route, designing the exercise stations and distance markers and getting approval from Anderson Center Director Robert Hedin.
The students put together a presentation to pitch their idea, working on their public speaking skills in the process. Hedin gave the go-ahead a couple weeks ago, Slagle said.
In addition to the designing and planning, the class also spent time researching regulations and liability laws. They’ve drafted their own liability statement for the track and equipment, Slagle said.
Now that the blueprints for the track are mostly completed, the next semester will be spent on actual construction of the exercise stations and fundraising.
Slagle said they hope to raise $5,000 for the construction of the track and to provide for some future maintenance. The students have applied for a $2,500 grant from homebuilding store Lowe’s. Slagle said they’ll be notified if they will receive the grant in January.
To raise the remaining funds, the students have come up with lists of possible fundraisers. They include holding a talent show or dance, bagging groceries or selling bracelets.
One of their current fundraising ventures is running a coffee shop at the Anderson Center in between classes. Next, they’ll approach area organizations and businesses to ask for financial help.
“We’ve identified a number of places,” Gallaradojohnson said.
That task will help the students expand on their public speaking and relationship-building skills, Gallaradojohnson added. Though so far, she said the students have already learned quite a few skills, including strategy development, fundraising, organization, project management and basic bookkeeping.
“I’m really pleased with the different skills the kids have learned,” Gallaradojohnson said. “These are things they could point to for future work experiences.”
And now, even with a semester of hard work ahead of them, the class said they’re not feeling stressed. They added that working together to solve problems has kept them from feeling overwhelmed.
“We work as a team,” Charity Hudson said.
“We all work together pretty good,” LaPorte echoed.
The class plans to officially open the track on May 31. Once completed, the track will be open to the community and Tower View students year-round.