On Thursday, November 7, students from the RCS School District’s Operation Graduation program took part in a team building exercise near the United States Military Academy (USMA), also known as West Point (Highland Falls, N.Y.). Held in conjunction with West Point military staff, the event illustrated to students the importance of self-esteem and teamwork.
The students participated in a two mile hike that required them to collectively carry a 10 lb rock up the trail. The students were broken into teams, with each team carrying their personalized stone to the top of the mountain. The stones were then placed at a monument that commemorated fallen soldiers at the end of the trail. West Point staff shared a collection of memories for those who had lost their lives to defend our freedom. This particular team building exercise has been attended by numerous statewide school districts over the years and allows participants to assist one another in their final goal of completing the trail.
Operation Graduation is an alternative education program for general education students whose needs are not being met in a traditional classroom setting. Students are provided with a variety of options that can lead to graduation while still being held to the same academic standards. These students have smaller class sizes, a comfortable learning environment, and optimal faculty and staff. The mission of the program is provide a place for new beginnings for all students through positive, successful learning experiences.
“We are fortunate to hold an event like this for our students,” said RCS High School Principal Dr. Lisa Patierne. ‘We are focused on allowing our ‘at promise’ students to understand that they can overcome obstacles, whether it’s academic or personal, while achieving their goals and helping others. We thank the staff at the USMA for providing their time and showing RCS students the importance of building lifelong skills, while strengthening their self-importance.”
The United States Military Academy conducts this program near the military academy campus. Surrounded by forest and scenic views of the Hudson River, staff and students take on the climb until each student finishes. The exercise is not only conducted for students, but for West Point cadets to experience teamwork and going beyond your comfort zone to achieve a purpose.
“Operation Graduation is a key component to what our faculty and administrators seek to deliver our students,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian Bailey. “This unique program gives ‘at promise’ students the opportunity to achieve a goal, while applying it to their everyday life. I’m proud to watch this program move forward, while providing the tools and outreach for students to become positive community members and successful students.”
Special recognition goes to our friends at the United States Military Academy, TCI of New York and our students for taking on new challenges and building the confidence to succeed in today’s classroom.