What’s Right With Schools: Project Adventure at Joel Elementary

CLINTON, Conn (WTNH)–It’s sort of a rite of passage in Clinton.

“We get boys or girls at the high school level, they say I remember doing that, I remember doing this,” said gym teacher Derek Karcich.

The gymnasium at Joel Elementary is full of daunting, high rise challenges.

Third graders accomplish something they didn’t think was possible, and help their classmates along the way.

“Its about children being able to support themselves. Being able to be the comrades to say when you can do it when yo can do it,” said principal Claudia Norman.

They students climb high on rope challenges, leap towards a trapeze and scale walls and ladders.

It all happens with two trained teachers standing by to make sure they are safe at all times.

The inspiration goes back and forth,classmates providing the inspiration and support for each other to succeed.

“Project adventure gives our students the opportunity apply the strategies of perseverance and problem solving that we also try embed in everything that we do in terms of literacy and math,” said Joe Macrino the assistant principal.

Once at the top of Dobens den, the pinnacle perch named for the John Dobens, the teacher who started the program….a special gift awaits the students who make it.

“There’s the mailbox and in that mailbox is other handwritten notes from other students telling them good job,” said Macrino.

Its the kind of breakthrough parents want to be a part of, because lessons can be learned from both.

“When they break that hurdle, when they realize the things that they can do – that empowerment of their feeling of success – is just that one piece I hope they walk through life with,” said Norman.

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