Climbing to Perseverance

By: Todd Martin
For some students, the wall was a welcomed chance to try something fun and new and they attacked the challenge with the energy of their youth.

Other students took their time, sized up the obstacle and considered their course carefully. A few decided not to climb until their friends urged them on.

At Cedar Valley Elementary School Thursday and Friday, kindergarten through fifth-graders had a chance to scale an indoor climbing gym wall set up on the playground at the rear of the school.

It was part of the “Rock Solid Character” program based in Houston making its first appearance in Killeen ISD.

Jacob Wood of Inspire Rock said the wall was meant to challenge students to consider the joys and challenges of life and to push through the difficulties they encounter.

Those most challenging times, Wood told students, are called “the crux,” the decisive moment of moving on or giving up.

“We want them to see that life is fun, but that you have to make decisions and it’s not fun if you get in trouble and get grounded,” he said.

The adventure-based character education program centered on an acronym GRIP with the letters representing good attitude, respect and responsibility, integrity and perseverance.

“You can’t stop every time it gets hard,” Wood said during one of a series of assemblies Thursday prior to students fitting into harnesses and giving the wall a shot.

Since 2001, the Inspire Rock organization has presented its “Rock Solid Character” program to about 400,000 students in 115 school districts. The program provided character education literature for the school.

Cedar Valley school counselor Brandi Carroll said the combination of active movement and the motivational charge to persevere would build strong memories.

“The motion helps them remember and for many, this is an experience they have not had before,” she said.

The counselor said she noticed students hesitant to try the wall and was gratified to see other students encourage them on. One in particular, she said, thanked her for encouraging him.

“There was problem solving involved in this,” Carroll said. “Some tried and tried again to get up there. They persevered.”