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National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Bragging About Central Junior High School

Giselle Ransom-Kidd isn't kidding around

"I want to grow up to be a mechanical engineer and work for NASA," Ransom-Kidd said.

She’s also plays volleyball and basketball, runs track, and is in the step and drone clubs.

One of her favorite classes is Bryan Harston's second period robotics class. 

"What they're doing is mastering the art of finessing each step of the program," Harston said.

Giselle leads a team of the top learners who built a massive robot.

"It's really hard, it's very math related -- degrees and angles and rotations. You can have it go a slight half-second difference and that just throws the robot off totally," she said. 

They're working to design a toy that will pick up and move items on it's own with total precision. They've gotten so good at it, they're headed to a state competition for the first time in Central Junior High School's history

"I think we can take it home," Giselle said.

Notice the "we." It's all about team at Central Junior High School. All students are working together on projects big and small to make sure it all hits right on target. 

Another area in which they're spending a lot of time is foreign languages. 

Central's world language program give students the chance to take classes in Hindi, French, Spanish, Arabic and Mandarin.

Alberto Andrade has studied Mandarin since sixth grade.

"I wanted to travel to China and I thought it would better to know language and get to know the people. I also love the food," Andrade said.

His appetite might have got him in the door, but now that he's in class, he's learned much more about the language.

"There's thousands of characters, you get the hang of it," he said.

It's not just learning the language, but mastering the culture too. Principal Randy Belcher said that learning has to take place both inside and outside of the classroom.

"We had a group just return from over spring break to China they went to Beijing and did some traveling there, and visited some schools," Belcher said.

Teachers said the commitment from the school is there to make sure they're not following a curriculum, but taking steps to ensure students are truly getting "it."

Andrade said he wants to work in the business community and now he knows he'll be able to communicate in Asia and, yes, order that Chinese food he loves so much.

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