Fifth- grade students from the Letcher County and Jenkins Independent school districts got up close and personal with Simon, an African penguin, and two coral catsharks during an educational event sponsored by the Rotary Club of Whitesburg, Jenkins Kiwanis Club, Letcher County Chamber of Commerce and Letcher County Schools Education Foundation.
More than 300 students had the opportunity to observe and touch the penguin and catsharks during the October 27 WAVE on Wheels outreach program at Whitesburg Middle School. Caitlin Stanley and Kristen Guevara, staff members with the WAVE Foundation outreach program, shared with students the aquatic life of penguins and sharks, how to safely touch them and the importance of conservation.
WAVE Foundation is an educational foundation located at the Newport Aquarium that brings its outreach programs to elementary and middle schools in the area to increase awareness, curiosity and respect of aquatic animals and their environments. This program is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many students who might never get the opportunity to visit an aquarium.
Observers say there is nothing more rewarding than watching the eyes of students light up with excitement when they get to actually touch a real life penguin and shark.