Before school started for the year, Foothills Community School (FCS) scholars met with their teachers, learned their schedules and boarded a bus headed for adventure.

Scholars headed out to the Morganton Beanstalk Zip lines and Joara Site to learn about themselves and early civilizations. Students zip lined, climbed walls, participated in teambuilding and STEM challenges.

“The goal of providing students the opportunity to do something physically and mentally challenging is to place them out of their comfort zone and help them to realize that we have to learn to work together, and have fun,” said FCS Principal Melanie Shaver. “Middle school is a transition period for all adolescents in which their brain and bodies are developing. It can be a hard time. At FCS knowing that you have a core team that is going to take care of you, love you and support you is critical to a positive middle school experience. Starting off the year on a positive note building those relationships even before the first day of school, helps our students develop excitement about the year ahead.”

This year, students not only participated in teambuilding and relationship building, but worked with local historians, NC State University students and the Burke County Master Gardeners to learn more about the Joara settlement in Burke County. Students completed math tasks to learn about the geometry of the houses in the Joara settlement, learned to throw an atlatl (spear-thrower) and investigated early crops.

"The orientation trip helped me grow closer to my peers," FCS student Kyla Joyner said, "It also helped me to realize that it's not always about me, sometimes I have to trust others to take the lead and make decisions."

The day was a perfect opportunity to investigate FCS’s first project for the year that partners with food-based initiatives in the community to learn about the local agriculture system and how food is supplied to people that live in McDowell County.

Foothills Community School (FCS) is a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) magnet school that serves any interested student in grades 6-8 in McDowell County, NC. Scholars at Foothills Community School learn through completing relevant projects that address global or local concerns

For more information on FCS, visit www.fcs.mcdowell.k12.nc.us, follow them on Twitter @STEMFCS or on Facebook @FCSSTEM.

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