FORT HUACHUCA — Colonel Smith Middle School students got a taste of some of the obstacles active duty soldiers face when they took a field trip to Fort Huachuca’s obstacle course this week.
The trip to the obstacle course served as a team building event for the middle school students and a volunteer opportunity for the 35 Tango students of the C Company 309th Military Intelligence Battalion.
“My intent is to build teamwork with my (AIT) students but also with the Col. Smith students,” Capt. Charles Rapp said.
Phyllis Gerben, Col. Smith’s eighth grade lead and a Language Arts teacher at the school, said last school year was the first time the school ventured to the installation’s obstacle course. They decided to send the eight graders because the staff noticed a number of cliques beginning to form.
“It did accomplish the goal,” she said. “There was a greater sense of togetherness after the event.”
This year Gerben said the 309th Military Intelligence Battalion invited the entire school to have a chance to tackle the course. The eighth graders tackled the course first on Tuesday then the seventh graders on Wednesday and the sixth graders will take their turn on Friday.
“From the overwhelming feedback from the school, we were able to extend the event,” Rapp said.
Col. Smith eighth graders Erique Dozier, Devin Dureson and Isabella Hollin agreed that spending a few hours outside running, climbing and getting muddy was better than being in the classroom.
“I was nervous at first,” Hollin said. “I got more comfortable as I went through.”
Being outside of the school wasn’t only fun for the middle schoolers, but their teachers and administrators.
“This give them a chance to challenge themselves,” Gerben said. “We love to see them outside school. There is always someone who has a hidden talent that we wouldn’t know they had.”
When asked what they learned, all three students picked up the message school administrators and Capt. Rapp wanted them to.
“I learned you can’t leave anyone behind,” Dureson said.
The group of roughly 85 were separated into teams of five and given protective equipment, and then ran through the course. Each team was timed and the fastest group was declared the winner. Rapp’s student’s were dispersed throughout the course as safety officers to make sure no one was injured and the obstacles were done correctly.
“The 309th makes it very safe for them,” Gerben said. “This gives them (the 309th) a chance to take charge and shows (the students) what they do in the Army.”
She added the field trip is inclusive for all students as they invite the self-contained students as well. With parent permission and if the student wants to attend, they will participate in the obstacles they want, like their peers.
The C Company 309th Military Intelligence Battalion serves as the post volunteers for the middle school. They assist in the schools sporting events, dances and anything the school needs bodies for.