Flint River Project

An immersive authentic educational project by Westwood Schools in Camilla, GA US

The Immersion Project- What made it special

The Immersion Project was great. I had so much fun. I learned so many things that I never knew before about the Flint. Most of all, I learned respect for the river that does so much for our community. To reflect on everything that I did throughout the past week, I posted a schedule of everything that my group, Literature, did everyday and what I enjoyed most about it. I had the great opportunity to film everything that we did. I am so glad that I was able to capture the beauty of the Flint River and all of its surroundings.

Monday- Monday, May 11, the first ever Immersion Project at Westwood Schools kicked off. My group was the Literature group headed by Mrs. Betsy C. and Mrs. Meg W.. Monday morning, we came to school dressed in casual clothes because we didn't want to ruin our good clothes by getting them dirty. After the bell rang, we headed to Mrs. Betsy's room to divide up into our riding assignments and to get briefed on what we were to do that day. I could tell that Ms. Betsy and Mrs. Meg were both excited and nervous about the project because it had never been done before. I also think that they just wanted to swim in the Flint River. After we were all ready to go, we loaded up into the cars and headed towards Hopeful to interview Mr. Waymon Cross, the owner of Fran's Frames and Galleries. When we arrived, we got out of the cars and made our way toward the building. The building did not look like anything special, but as we walked in, our opinion changed. The inside of his shop was filled with beautiful pictures of a wide variety of things. He had gorgeous pictures of flowers, old barns, animals, and the beautiful Flint River. We were all amazed at all of the different types of looks that the Flint River had. Sometimes, the leaves on the trees were green. Other times, the leaves were red. As we approached Mr. Waymon about the interview, he was so excited! He posed for his interview with an absolutely gorgeous painting. We asked him questions about the inspiration of his photographs, stories of the Flint, and favorite past-times on river. I was so surprised at everything that he recounted to us. After leaving his shop, Mr. Waymon was gracious enough to show us some of his favorite places to photograph. We took many back roads and came out at a picnic area. In his interview, Mr. Waymon told us about a tree that had steps on it. He said that kids used to climb on it and jump off into the river below. We also went to Covey Rise plantation. Covey Rise has a beautiful lodge, and a really cute black lab. We took a lot of pictures and even met up with the history group headed up by Coach Ross. After a very busy day, we went to Big Jack's for lunch in Newton. The food was great, and I think that Mr. Waymon enjoyed it too. After we got done with lunch, we headed back to the school to work on making our videos and blog posts.

- Tuesday was just a good as day as Monday. We met in Ms. Betsy's room in the morning, loaded into the cars, and headed out to Hopeful to Mr. Harris and Linda Morgan's house. It was absolutely beautiful. I could not help but stare when we road past it. After we passed the house, we headed into the woods to go to their river house so that we could interview Mr. Bubba Johnson. Mr. Bubba is Coach Ross's uncle, Mrs. Betty's brother and Mrs. Jill's father. When we stepped out of the car, the mosquitoes were terrible! They were so thick that you could cut them with a knife. In our interview with Mr. Bubba, he told us many stories about the Flint and about how it was beautiful yet dangerous. He told us that many people had died in boats while they were trying to cross the river. He warned us to be careful because the river is not only beautiful, but also dangerous. After concluding his interview, half of our group split up. One half went on a pontoon boat ride, and the other half found a quiet place and meditated and wrote poetry. My quiet place was a little piece of sand surrounded by water on both sides. It was very hard to get to. I had to climb through many trees, try not to fall down hills, and get stuck by mosquitoes just to get there. It was worth it. I realized that you never really know all of the beautiful things that you have until you quiet down and just watch. The river was so pretty. It inspired me to write a poem that I called Embracing Life's Beauty. After I crawled out of my quiet place, which was really hard to get out of, it was time for our half of the Literature group to take a ride on a pontoon boat. Our tour guide was very nice. He knew a lot of things about the river that I had never heard of. It was very interesting to listen to him tell stories about the floods and recent events that happened on the river. He also introduced us to the Coolawahee Spring, a freshwater spring that mixes with the brackish water of the Flint. It was very interesting to see the color differences in the spring and the river. After we got back on the boat landing from our informative pontoon ride, we had a nice picnic lunch in the Morgan's river house. After devouring all of the sandwiches, chips, cookies, and brownies, we headed back to the school to do some more work on our video. We also interviewed Mr. James Lee A. about stories of the Flint. The stories that he told us were very interesting stories that I never heard before. Even through the wet and cold weather, we still had a great day.

Wednesday- Wednesday was one of my favorite days of the week. We spent two hours in the morning at the school working on our videos, power points, and pictures. After asking permission from Cader Cox to swim at Riverview plantation's Sullivan's Sandbar, we donned our bathing suits and headed towards the plantation. Sullivan's Sandbar is not easy to find. We had to travel about fifteen miles and then turn on a dirt road that led us to the entrance of the sandbar. When I stepped out of the car, I thought that I was at the beach. Sullivan's Sandbar is like a beach with yellow sand. It was so pretty. I was in charge of videoing for week, so I placed my tripod in the dirt and videoed everyone having a great time. After a while, I was ready to experience some of that excitement myself. Ignoring the warnings that they had given us about the river being polluted by the high waters caused by the constant rain a month before, we dove in. My favorite thing to do was stand on the peak of the sandbar and run down the hill into the water, diving in the river. Virginia and I ran and dove into the water countless times. We had a great lunch. We decided to pick up Crispy Chick and eat at the sandbar. It was so good. After letting our food digest, we ran down the hill and dove into the water even more. After lunch, Matt T., Kayla C., Katie B., and Lindsey C. joined us. We all had so much fun. After swimming for about and hour, we recited our poems that we wrote on Tuesday. Everybody's poems were great! They were all diverse in their written skeleton but the same in their meaning. They all expressed everybody's love and appreciation for the Flint. After reciting our poems and gathering all of our belongings, we headed back to Westwood to work on our videos. Before turning on the road that led us to Camilla, we turned on the road that led us to Hopeful. Mrs. Meg needed gas so we traveled to the Hopeful General Store. I was amazed at the connection that the people at the store had with the Flint. They were all familiar with Sullivan's Sandbar, and they were glad to hear that students were doing something to learn more about South Georgia's most prominent river. After finally getting back to the school, we headed towards the computer lab to do some more work on their videos. Kaitlyn H. and Shelby K. interviewed Mrs. Engra W. about her connection with arts. Mrs. Engra is a great painter and inspires her students to incorporate art into their lives.

-Thursday was a very relaxing day. We met in Ms. Betsy's room to discuss the plans for the day. We were not going out onto the river today, but we were going to see it. Our first stop was at the Camilla Java. We wanted to go to the Java because Mr. Waymon Cross's photographs were going to be placed on display in the Java. Sadly, they were going to be put on display next week. We still enjoyed looking at all of the beautiful paintings that were on display currently in the coffee shop. We all got some coffee or in my case, a strawberry peach smoothie. Some played chess, others relaxed on the couches, or played the guitar. We met up with Mrs. Vicki D., Jordan B., and Hope B. at the Java. They were videoing our Literature group for their documentary. After leaving the Java, we headed up Highway 19 towards the Flint River Bank. As we walked in, we were overwhelmed with beautiful photographs and paintings of the Flint River. When I saw the pictures, I realized that I had seen most of the things that were featured in them. The Immersion project has introduced me to so many things about the river that I never knew before. After leaving the bank, we headed back to the school to work on our video. Our video is coming along great! It incorporates all of people that we interviewed along with great footage from our adventures on the Flint. We took a break from our work to participate in field day. It was very fun, even though we lost field day.

The Flint River has such a major part in our lives. Through the Immersion project, we have been able to uncover more and more about the Flint River. I am so glad that we have the opportunity to learn more about the river that influences our lives. We do not even realize how big of a part the Flint River plays in our lives. In the Literature group, we were able to discover how big of a role the arts play in the Flint River. It inspires everybody, painters, photographers, and story tellers, to enter a new world. This new world flows through the lives of many just as it the Flint River flows through South Georgia.

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