When something like an outdoor learning center remains unfinished, the members of the JROTC society in Burgdorf want to take action.
The junior class chose to complete the Ivy Stockwell Elementary School Learning Center for their service-learning project, which involves installing a weather information station and sundial to give elementary students a direct access to meteorology courses.
“They couldn’t do it, so we decided to do it for them,” said Cadet 1st Lt. Jevin Curry, 17, company commander of JROTC Company and a junior at Burgdorf High School.
The outdoor learning center, opened in 2017, features fully accessible paved pathways leading to a large stone seating area surrounded by native plants and garden beds. There is also a pergola and a music station made up of steel drums and a mallet anchored to the ground.
The center’s plan, tied to the school’s STEAM focus (Science, Technology, Engineering, Agriculture, and Math), has been put on hold during the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent surge in student population necessitating the use space for outdoor classrooms.
“It’s a great school, and I’m happy to go back and complete what was planned, and several cadets have accepted,” said Curry, who along with several of the JROTC cadets is an alumnus of JROTC. Ivy.
The weather station will consist of a barometer, a weather vane and a rain gauge, serving as a visual aid for the teacher. There will also be a cart containing tools and supplies to maintain the learning center.
“Teaching kids about weather and the things and tools meteorologists use is easier with examples,” Curry said. “It will give a teacher’s aide, plus it will get them out of the classroom and that’s always a plus.”
The junior class designed the weather station and sundial features and will purchase steel and other materials to make the items by hand. Cadets will also secure tools, turning to area construction companies and even their own garages to borrow what they need. If they find that they need welding work, they will contact certified welders for assistance.
The project was selected from several ideas to satisfy the junior class service-learning requirement which is 50% of the grade – this is 30% of the grade for sophomores and provides hours service learning for freshmen and seniors. The junior class got permission from the principals of Berthoud and Ivy and a work order from the Thompson School District to complete the project, which they have until May 25 to complete.
“We are working on an accelerated schedule,” Curry said. “We were delayed by previous units that took a bit longer to complete.”
The junior class, with the help of the other cadets, engages in service-learning projects each year, as well as community service and volunteer work.
“I love serving my community, and I believe it’s something every citizen should do,” Curry said, adding that JROTC helps with that. “Our goal is to make better citizens after high school through military disciples and knowledge.”
The junior class receives funding for their service-learning project, but expects it to fail this time around. The class sets up a GoFundMe page with donations managed by the school’s booster club to make up the difference.
“It’s a great school. I’m happy to go back and finish what’s planned,” Curry said.