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Liberty Leadership Day exercises take two directions

MADISON – Leadership Day for Liberty Middle School seventh-graders offered tailor-made character and career exercises on Oct. 29.

Liberty seventh-graders complete a STEM-related exercise at Sci-Quest. (CONTRIBUTED)
Liberty seventh-graders complete a STEM-related exercise at Sci-Quest. (CONTRIBUTED)

Medal of Honor recipient Col. Leo K. Thorsness met with the boys on campus, while the girls’ field trip to Sci-Quest Hands-on Science Center showed career openings in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).

Superintendent Dr. Dee Fowler recommended the “Motivating Young Women in STEM Careers” workshop at Sci-Quest, Liberty Assistant Principal Sylvia Lambert said. For the boys, Lambert then arranged “a special day focused on character education and team-building.”

During a STEM lunch panel at Sci-Quest, the Liberty girls interacted with women leaders from Marshall Space Flight Center, Redstone Arsenal and other local businesses. “In NASA’s Exploration Design Challenge, girls studied radiation’s effects on human space travelers and created mock radiation shields to protect astronauts,” Lambert said.

Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama employees helped design model cars of the future with household items. “Girls extracted DNA from their own cheeks and learned of careers in biotech and genetics,” Lambert said. Also, they developed jewelry in “tech-embedded, wearable electronics.”

Seventh-grade boys at Liberty interacted for team building on Leadership Day. (CONTRIBUTED)
Seventh-grade boys at Liberty interacted for team building on Leadership Day. (CONTRIBUTED)

With the Liberty boys, Thorsness shared experiences as a prisoner-of-war for almost seven years in the infamous Hanoi Hilton in North Vietnam and his mission that earned the Congressional Medal of Honor. He and other POWs avoided punishment by communicating with ‘tap code.’

The boys participated in two sessions using Congressional Medal of Honor curriculum featuring Thorsness and “focused on courage in decision-making, overcoming obstacles and standing up for what you believe,” Lambert said.

“He challenged the seventh-grade boys to have courage to make right decisions in their everyday lives, serve others in the community, be honest and always give their best effort at school,” Lambert said.

“Col. Thorsness is a modern-day hero for boys. He has shown such courage and character,” Lambert said. Thorsness, who lives in Madison, has written, “Surviving Hell,” recounting his POW captivity.

In addition, the boys’ small-group sessions examined goal setting, role modeling and planning. School resource officers discussed positive relationships, problem-solving and dealing with bullying.

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