PEARL RIVER COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - A wooded area on the edge of campus at Pearl River Community College neatly encloses the college's newest addition. New ropes and obstacle courses wind their way through hilly terrain. Instructors are hoping lessons learned on these courses will spill into the classroom.
"What we're trying to accomplish is for the students to be able to understand yeah, I'm going to have to communicate. I'm going to have to form that support system in college to be successful. And not only that. I'm going to hit a lot of stumbling blocks," said Lisa Palchak, first year seminar coordinator.
The various exercises teach different skills. Members of the freshmen orientation class are put to the test through a net of ropes called the dream catcher. Armani McDaniel took the lessons she learned to heart.
"Being a unit. Unity. You learn unity and build together. It's not just about you. You have to think about the whole group as one," said McDaniel.
Sarah Spence is a sophomore but will serve in a leadership role with some of these freshmen. She knows the importance of learning these lessons early.
"Definitely the not giving up part. Being a sophomore and having my first year already over with and kind of look back and see that you know it did get hard and it continues to get hard but just keeping that goal," said Spence.
The ropes and obstacle courses were made possible through a grant written by Dr. Tara Rouse, chair of the college's health and physical education department.
"We want to create a culture of health and wellness here. Not only for our students, but for our community," said Rouse.
Rouse said the $198,171 grant was made possible by a partnership with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation.