Columbia Students Learn To Verbalize Trust, Build Leadership Skills

MAPLEWOOD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A Garden State high school has used federal funding to take team building to a new level. Students at Columbia High School have been taking part in an optional physical education class called “Project Adventure.”

The class, which involves flying five stories high while being held by a harness, a rope and a group of classmates, has been available at Columbia High for 25 years. A recent $1.25-million federal grant allowed the school to renovate and build one of the biggest ropes courses in the country.

Students at Columbia explained the experience to CBS 2’s John Schriffen on Tuesday.

“When you’re up in the air it’s obviously a little bit nerve-wracking, so you learn a little bit about yourself, but you also learn how to trust other people,” Kyle Rabago-Bango said.

The goal for students in grades 10 through 12 is to navigate the course while relying on each other for assistance in conquering obstacles, over a nine-week period.

“This is critically important to have on a high school level because we’re teaching kids to be active during their whole entire lives. Learning is about taking risks,” explained Brian Osborne, Superintendent of Schools for South Orange and Maplewood.

To succeed in Project Adventure, students raised in an age of technology must master verbal commands.

Senior Sidney Foxworth told Schriffen that the course has resulted in improved communication among classmates.

“In this class they actually change because they’re laughing more, they’re joking, everyone is talking because everyone has to depend on one another. It’s just like a whole big family,” Foxworth said.

While the Project Adventure experience may be scary at times, there are always plenty of safety instructors around. There have been no problems in the 25-year history of the program Columbia, and administrators hope to continue to use the course as a tool to build student confidence and reduce bullying.

Have you ever taken Project Adventure? How was your experience? Let us know in our comments section below…


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