Atlanta — Feb 07, 2020
To get your average high-schooler up and learning early on a Saturday morning, you’ve got to have a pretty special program. One Saturday in November, the Model Atlanta Regional Commission (MARC) program partnered with Georgia Power to do just that.
About 50 high school students from around the Atlanta region came out for an up-close, hands-on field trip to learn about something these young people may take for granted: how their homes, schools and communities get their power, and what that means for the entire region.
The morning’s task was to experience how the company facilitates power for the metro area and trains its employees to work with the tools and equipment that keep the region buzzing.
The morning was one of several sessions of the Model ARC program, bringing together diverse 10th and 11th grade students to learn about issues shaping metro Atlanta, such as infrastructure, transportation and mobility, community planning, sustainability of our natural resources, equity, and public art.
But just like the actual Atlanta Regional Commission, work by the Model ARC wouldn’t be possible without support from community partners like Georgia Power, which is one of the agency’s Strategic Partners.
In November, Georgia Power hosted a half-day session for the 2019 MARC class. Georgia Power and Model ARC leadership worked together to produce a day that aligned with the rest of the year’s MARC programming.
As part of the experience, students worked through a case study that involved researching the environmental, economic, and social impacts of energy sources like hydropower, coal, and nuclear energy.
The students were given a tour of the Georgia Power Underground facility, a major center that keeps power flowing through much of Fulton County. Staff provided insights into the types of careers that fall into the broad “engineering” umbrella, opening students’ eyes to career possibilities.
The facility includes a training center where employees learn how to repair and maintain equipment using scale models of transformers, cables, and other tools. There’s even a full-size “manhole” that replicates the inside of an underground compartment. It was a chance for the students to safely handle the same kind of equipment used in the power grid, and have a little fun while learning.
Again and again, MARC participants expressed interest in “peeking behind the curtain” to see how city planning and infrastructure is managed. The Georgia Power session was their opportunity to go behind the scenes of power management in a major metro area. The students were also exposed to career possibilities that may not turn up in the typical high school curriculum’s math, science, and English.
MARC exposes future leaders to the opportunities and challenges that present themselves to metro Atlanta leaders every day. Michael, a junior at Douglas County High School, described a workshop in which the participants were tasked with building a model city.
“You had to think about electricity and power, you had to think about schools and zoning districts, you had to think about downtown districts and college campuses,” he said. “It was really nice to see what goes into a community.”
The 2019-2020 MARC cohort is made up of 50 students from high schools around the region. The current class wrapped up their session with an open house on Saturday, January 25, 2020, where they presented and shared work samples from the year’s programming to their families.
Contact Name: Junior Knox