Twenty-eight Frink-Chambers seventh grade GEAR UP students recently toured the Eufaula Dam operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers near Porum.
Construction of the Eufaula Dam began in December 1956 to provide flood control, water supply, hydroelectric power, and navigation to the area. The project was completed in February 1964 and began full flood control. Five months later, power was generated.
Students began the tour by breaking into three small groups led by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers employees: Johnny Bray, plant manager; Anthony Condi, electrician; Tim Edwards, electrician; Garrett Mason, mechanic; and Rob Moores, mechanic. The groups visited each level of the dam, learning about the day-to-day operations and the purpose behind those operations.
“Students get to see first-hand where their electricity comes from and how flood control projects keep flooding to a minimum,” said Bray. “I hope they take away from the tour that these are things they use or need every day, and they shouldn’t take it for granted.”
Students were given opportunities to ask employees questions about their jobs.
“My favorite part of my job as a mechanic is problem solving,” said Mason. “I enjoy constantly figuring out the problems and how to fix them.”
Mason continued to share that he earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Oklahoma State University. He explained to students that there is a purpose for the lessons they are learning in their science and math classes. He said he uses his classroom education in his job every single day.
After the tour, students ate lunch at Dobber’s Roadhouse, a locally-owned restaurant in Eufaula. Students shared their favorite parts of the tour and what they learned.
“We have been learning a lot about colleges and careers in GEAR UP,” said Cade Smith, Frink-Chambers 7th grade student. “I liked being able to ask our tour guide about his job and college degree. I think it was really cool to see the things we learn about in math and science in real life.”
The field trip was sponsored by Eastern Oklahoma State College GEAR UP. Participating schools take two field trips each academic year—one to tour a college or university and one that is cultural/educational in nature. In 2017, Eastern recently received a $17 million federal GEAR UP grant and will serve over 3,000 students in 39 area schools for seven years.