PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (NNS) -- Twenty-eight 5th grade students from Pearl Harbor Kai Elementary celebrated their graduation from the Strobes Atlantis program with a rocket launching aboard Ford Island, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH), Feb. 8.
"It's a celebration of the fact that we've been working with 5th grade students for 17 years, and we've achieved 100,000 students," said Joseph Barrett, Starbase Atlantis Pearl Harbor director. "That's introducing them to STEM subjects: science, technology, engineering and math. We hope that we've encouraged them to go on and get careers in those subjects."
The Pearl Harbor learning site contributed to more than 7,000 graduates of the 100,000 total. Pearl Harbor Kai is one of two pilot schools that started during the spring of 2002.
Andre Roberts, age 11, was one of the students who graduated from the program and successfully launched his rocket.
"My favorite part of the program was building the rocket and doing the flight simulator," said Roberts.
Starbase Atlantis is the U.S. Navy's portion of the Department of Defense-sponsored Starbase Program, an educational program focusing primarily on 5th grade students from local communities to motivate them in science-related fields. The program helps develop positive self-esteem, teaches goal-setting skills and encourages teamwork through hands-on activities.
"It's important to show the children what their engineering and technical learning can result in," said Lt. Cmdr. Joe Lyon, deputy director of Naval Submarine Training Center Pacific (NSTC PAC).
NSTC PAC is the host command for the Starbase Atlantis Pearl Harbor program, providing instructors and guided tours of the submarine facility to the students.
"We have some of the finest Sailors in the fleet; very technologically savvy and successful," said Lyon. "It's good to give the Sailors the opportunity to help the kids and give back to the community and for the kids to see what it's like to be an outstanding role model."
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