Twenty-eight students and four faculty members from the Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy (CGLA) began their fall break this week with a two-day “reward trip” to Pigeon Forge.
At the end of the 2012-13 school year, before the End of Course (EOC) and TCAP exams in May, Dr. Elaine Swafford, Executive Director of CGLA, gave students several incentives to prepare well for and do their best on the exams. CGLA’s students made tremendous academic gains, earning CGLA a place in the top five percent of schools in Tennessee for academic growth. Dr. Swafford promised a reward trip to any student who scored all “Proficient” and at least one “Advanced” on her exams. Over thirty students met the challenge, and with the help of CGLA supporters, Dr. Swafford delivered on her promise.
“It is important to acknowledge students’ hard work,” said Dr. Swafford. “Acknowledgement and affirmation encourage students to continue to be diligent in their studies. These girls needed some motivation, they needed to be rewarded when they met their goals, and they needed to see us follow through on our promise. And we were happy to do that.”
On Monday the group walked around Pigeon Forge, visiting souvenir shops and enjoying funnel cakes and ice cream. After driving at the go-kart racetrack, they ate dinner at TGI Fridays where they had an impromptu math lesson as each girl determined her budget and calculated tax and tip.
On Tuesday the group visited The Tomb: Egyptian Adventure. Students learned about the ancient Egyptians and the embalming process of mummification, after which they divided into groups and used team work and critical thinking skills to navigate through an imitation tomb. The trip ended with arcade games and lunch before loading the bus and traveling back to Chattanooga.
“The trip was a blast!” said Mrs. Olivia Bagby, CGLA art teacher. “The girls did fabulously and truly enjoyed themselves.”
The trip may become an annual CGLA event to challenge and motivate CGLA’s students to excel academically.