Columbia Connections: Community Helpers Visit Heathwood

Friday, October 4, 2019

It's not every day a helicopter lands on Heathwood's soccer practice field. And it's certainly not every day that we're visited by the SWAT team or the Richland County Sheriff's Office's K9 Unit. But on October 3, all those visitors and more came to Heathwood to meet with Lower School students for Community Helpers Day.

Coordinated through Heathwood's Columbia Connections program, Community Helpers Day brought to life the 1st graders' study of all the different kids of helpers--from police officers to firefighters to sanitation workers to journalists to water plant managers--who keep our community healthy and strong. Second graders also had a chance to meet with the community helpers and learn about the tools of their trade as one of the initial steps in their yearlong city-building project.

Community Helpers Day participants included:

--Richland County Sheriff's Department

     * Helicopter Unit

     * SWAT Team

     * K9 Unit

     * Bomb Squad

--Richland County EMS

--Richland County Sanitation Department

--City of Columbia Fire Department

--Dominion Energy

--WACH Fox and Morning News Anchor Fraendy Clervaud

Students had a chance to mingle with the Helpers at their vehicles and over lunch in the Dining Commons. They also toured vehicles like the SWAT van, ambulance and fire truck, and were able to witness the police helicopter swooping in and landing close by. The bomb squad demonstrated how their remote-controlled robot can go where it wouldn't be safe for its human controllers to follow, and WACH's Fraendy Clervaud streamed much of the morning's events on his station's Facebook page.

Giving students this kind of opportunity to see what they learn in the classroom brought to life is one of the key goals of Heathwood's Columbia Connections program, says Columbia Connections Director Donnie Bain. "We know that students learn better when they can see first-hand the real-world application of their studies," Mr. Bain noted. "That's why Columbia Connections has built a network of community partners whom we can bring together with students at all grade levels to make learning more engaging and more immediately relevant."