We’re thankful for learning opportunities

We’re thankful for all the diverse opportunities to learn in our community.

Coyote Ridge debate project

Coyote Ridge at Connell may not be the setting one would expect for a debate competition, yet it has become a tradition.

The Prison Debate Project is in its third year, and it teams 15 Washington State University students with 15 Walla Walla Community College student inmates.

The combined group splits into two teams to debate a question in front of 100 inmates.

Not only do WSU criminal justice and criminology students get a chance to learn outside the classroom, the student inmates also gain a sense of pride and confidence, discovering they will be able to eventually compete at the university level.

It’s a great educational experience — in a most unexpected place.

Library summer fun

School days may be almost over, but summer learning is just getting started. The Mid-Columbia Libraries are again offering a summer reading program — and much more.

Besides encouraging kids to read when the days heat up, they also promote creative and exploratory activities.

The idea is to learn, investigate their world and spend quality time with family and community.

Whether a child likes to paint, visit a museum or volunteer — to name a few — there’s incentive to persevere.

Prizes for reading books and getting involved in activities help initiative on a lazy summer day. And best of all, the program is a great way to have summer fun and learn at the same time.

Fat Man replica

It can cause a double take when you see the replica of Fat Man, the bomb that helped end World War II. Not only is the fiberglass object historical, but also quite big — 400 pounds, 10 feet long and 5 feet in diameter.

For the builders, Terry Klute, Bob Ver Steeg and their friends at the Richland Airport, the full-size model has been a nine-month birthing process — one that has produced a way to educate the community about the Manhattan Project.

Whether it’s shown in parades, parked in the Tri-Cities or involved in an event, Fat Man deserves a gander. The replica is a conversation starter and a unique learning opportunity.

Education gift

A legacy of learning is exactly what one Pasco couple has left behind for students at Columbia Basin College.

Duane and Katy Smith, who were married 65 years and childless, donated their life savings of $618,000 to CBC.

The endowment will be used to pay for scholarships, support academic programs and meet other needs of the college. It’s a gift to further education — one that keeps on giving.