It was the trip of the year for Woodson Leadership Academy sixth-graders. Nearly 100 youngsters traveled to Texas A&M University at Galveston (TAMUG) to explore the world of marine and maritime studies.
The students split into small groups, and Texas A&M students took them on walking tours of the campus located on Pelican Island, followed by a hands-on lesson about oysters from Wetlands Center and Field Trip Coordinator William Daily. Daily jumped into the water at the Dr. Sammy and Charlotte Ray Oyster Garden and started fishing around for oysters to show eager students, who passed around them around, marveling at tiny creatures attached to the rough shells.
Next was a visit to the Ocean and Coastal Studies Building, where students learned about sea turtles and saw a young turtle up close. Other activities included a presentation on sharks and fishing for crabs with chicken necks.
“I am definitely coming here to be a marine biologist,” said one of the boys. Other students were equally enthusiastic about TAMUG, which offers degrees in science, engineering, business, and marine-related research.
The HISD College Readiness Department works closely with schools to plan such college trips for students who otherwise may not have a chance to visit a college campus. “College tours are the most important part of getting students to commit to applying,” said HISD College Readiness Specialist Derick Hutchinson, who helped plan the outing. “When students walk around and feel comfortable on a college campus, they know college can be a reality.”
The trip was funded through Linked Learning, a new model of teaching that enables elementary through high school students to begin early college and career readiness through project-based learning. Linked Learning is funded by a $30 million Race to the Top grant awarded to HISD in December 2013.