Jasper County Sun Times Article: Antioch Educational Center scholars rewarded with trip

August 9, 2018 by Special to Jasper County Sun Times

The Antioch Educational Center took three of Jasper County’s brightest students on a trip in July to Tacoma and Seattle, Wash., and Vancouver, Canada as a reward for ending their 2017-18 school year with “awesome” grades, the Antioch Center said.

The students are rising fifth-graders Hazella Jeffcoat and Janiah Orr (Ridgeland Elementary School) and Ayana Gant (Hardeeville Elementary). The reward came through the Antioch Scholar’s Program, which the students have been a part of since the first grade. Students Kenneth Johnson (third grade) and A’lanyia Bryant also won a trip but were unable to travel.

The students in the Scholars Program meet every day after school for three hours at the old Jasper County High School where they study math, social studies, public presentations, and language arts. There are 23 students enrolled in the program that offers monthly field trips, free school uniforms, an annual overnight stay in Atlanta for Six Flags over Georgia, and a weeklong vacation to a location outside of the continental United States.

To be eligible for the trips, a student has to have been enrolled in the Antioch Scholars Program for three or more years and have averaged an A or above grade point average during the prior school year. Each student was required to keep a daily journal of their experiences.

The students were joined by parents Sharone Orr and Maureen Chisolm and program administrator Jackie O’Bannon. They visited the Seattle Zoo and Aquarium, Pikes Place Market, the Space Needle, and the Pacific Science Center. They then drove more than 170 miles north to the Canadian border.

“It was a very special time crossing the border as each of us had to produce our passports and answer questions posed to us by the border agents,” O’Bannon said. “I think the girls were literally in awe of the whole experience.”

The group visited the Vancouver Science Center and the Vancouver Aquarium. They also took a two-hour drive outside of Vancouver to search for the “Loch Ness Monster.”

In Tacoma, the group visited the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium, the Tacoma Waterfront, and shopped at the Tacoma Mall and the Tacoma Wholesale Mall.

“AEC is happy to be able to be a part of training these bright students and preparing them for dynamic leadership roles that each of them will one day fill,” O’Bannon said. “The majority of our students are in Gifted and Talented Programs in their schools. They continue to amaze many people. AEC will continue offering this program, with all of its benefits, free of charge to students who reside in Jasper County. We believe in our children. We know that there is no limit, for our children, if given the opportunity.”

For more information, contact AEC at 84-645-9400 or email at antiochexec@yahoo.com.