By Jay Shorter

On the weekend of June 28 through June 30, DC STORM (Students Taught Organization and Respect through Mentoring) traveled to the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. All members of DC STORM attend middle school at Jefferson Academy. The trip was considered a college tour led by Jay Shorter and Ronald Hines and funded by the Friends of Southwest DC.

The students visited the campuses of Norfolk State University, Old Dominion University and Hampton University during their visit. Hampton University provided a strong educational opportunity, where DC STORM members climbed the Emancipation Oak Tree where President Lincoln made a famous speech which freed the slaves in the Hampton Roads Area of Virginia. Then, the kids engaged in a STEM class where they were provided step-by-step instructions how to make a paper dolphin move up and down using copper wires, three small cardboard trays, a thread spool, a plastic straw and tape. After students constructed the board and the dolphin, the copper wires were attached to a battery and a computer with codes to make the dolphin move in an up and down motion by turning the spool. This was a great engineering project.

DC STORM also visited the Nauticus Museum where they got a chance to pet stingray fish, saw live baby sharks, and went fishing using magnets to catch metal fish. There were lots of hands-on activities in the museum like telescopes, radar trackers, light blinkers to send Morse code, and all types of artillery. DC STORM members boarded the USS Wisconsin Battle Ship docked just outside of the Nauticus Museum. There they got an opportunity to see how sailors lived on the ship, what tasks they were assigned and what tools and technology were available to them. All in all, the middle school students of DC STORM had a great educational experience thanks to the funding from the Friends of Southwest DC.

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