Fourth Graders Earn KAB Black Belts

By Jessica Hare KAB Education Coordinator

Four students at Grandview Elementary and five students at Saint Agnes Academy have officially completed the Keep Alliance Beautiful Black Belt program. KAB Black Belts, which was developed as a followup to the Black Ops program offered to third graders, was born when a group of students graduating from the Black Ops program asked, “What’s next?” The new program is modeled similarly to Black Ops as the Black Belt students worked their way through eight missions staggered throughout the school year. The students are responsible for picking up their folder, completing the assignment, and returning the folder by the due date instead of working on missions during class time. This independence requires a greater personal commitment to the program. The missions focused on an array of environmental topics such as conserving water and electricity, up-cycling, litter prevention, and waste reduction. As the students completed their missions, they were rewarded with a karate belt key chain that represented the rank they had earned. For example, the students received a white belt key chain when they completed their first mission. Students were also offered optional “Super Secret Side Missions” that took them to different community institutions. The intention was that the side missions would relate to the main mission. The students were able to visit the arboretum, the Carnegie Arts Center, the Alliance Recreation Center, the Alliance Public Library, and the Knight Museum and Sandhills Center. Participating in the these extra activities helped to reinforce the ideas behind the main missions and showed the kids the wide variety of educational and recreational opportunities Alliance has to offer. The students who made it to the end of the program showed great commitment and perseverance. The missions could be a lot of work and having to remember due dates and turn them in on time required responsibility and dedication. I am incredibly proud of the kids who completed the program.