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Freshmen learn map skills, thanks to National Guard partnership

The Academy of Freshman Exploration at Grand Island Senior High is offering students opportunities to learn valuable skills. The Academy has partnered with the Nebraska National Guard, who will teach a class each month on different skills.

On Aug. 29, freshmen had their first class with National Guard Staff Sergeant Dustin Schlote, Sergeant Justin Dekok and Sergeant First Class Chad Schroetline. Schlote, Dekok and Schroetline taught students how to read a military map, which was the first time many students had done so.

Schlote stood at the front of the class, which was held in the auditorium foyer. He gave students several challenges where they had to find two points on the map, then measure out the exact distance between the two points.

Students work on map reading skills

“It’s kind of hard,” freshman Adam Dreher said. “The first two challenges weren’t bad, but the measuring is where it gets you.”

Dreher and his friend Tristen Medbery worked on the map challenges together. Their measurements were often very close, but the exact distance was harder to calculate at times.

Medbery said this was the first time he’d read an actual map, other than the maps at amusement parks. Dreher said he once read an atlas on a road trip, but nothing like this.

Patrick Harder, a math teacher, said the partnership with the Nebraska National Guard is a benefit to students in several ways. The partnership will allow them to learn and work on social and study skills. Harder said the National Guard will also do mock interviews with students and later in the year will bring the National Guard obstacle course. Harder said the partnership also gives students a community connection and more adults to build relationships with.

“We really thought that this would be a good partnership for the Academy of Freshman Exploration,” Harder said.

Scholte said he’s excited about the partnership with the GISH freshmen.

“This month’s skill is map reading, where next month is patriotism and so on. Some of these students might not know what we have to offer them,” Scholte said of the benefits of the partnership.

He said most of the students said they’d never read a map before, and few knew how to tell which way is north. However, that has changed. Scholte said the National Guard members taught the students how to tell what direction they’re facing, in addition to the map reading, and they caught on fast.

“When we started, some students had no idea how to read a map,” Schlote said. “At the end, they were having fun. They understood the material and wanted to get the answers right.”

Students work on map reading skills.

 

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