While most traditional school buses have taken the summer off, Exploration Station, the former school bus turned mobile learning laboratory, has been out in various areas and neighborhoods throughout Owensboro.
Exploration Station, which is sponsored by the Foundation for Daviess County Public Schools, includes educational games, programs and learning resources including virtual reality headsets that expand children’s horizons beyond the classroom.
Children will have the opportunity to participate in hands-on science experiments, make crafts and work on reading, math, social studies and English language skills.
Exploration Station is being sponsored by several DCPS elementary schools throughout the summer, with each school’s representatives choosing the best area for the children they serve.
Sorgho Elementary Family Resource Coordinator Lucas Vilorio said he tried several times to take Exploration Station into the students’ neighborhoods who he felt had the greatest need, but experienced a very poor turnout.
He then realized that, if the neighborhoods were not working, he would take the bus to where the greatest amount of children were in the summertime — the baseball field.
“I take care of Sorgho and West Louisville,” Vilorio said. “I thought if I brought the bus here, while the siblings are playing, children can get fed and get on the iPads and us the free wifi.”
His idea turned out to be a successful one. For the past two years, Vilorio has been serving food to the children under the gazebo near the Sorgho baseball field through the DCPS Summer Feeding Program. With the bus parked between the gazebo and baseball diamond, he has found that the turnout has been much better.
Vilorio greeted multiple students in both English and Spanish as they boarded the bus, eager to engage, while their siblings finished up the remainder of their baseball game.
When a parent commented on the commitment it took for him to consistently bring the bus to the field and man it, outside of his other school responsibilities, Vilorio answered with a smile.
“I love it — I love what I do,” he said.
The following schools have scheduled Exploration Station to visit different locations throughout the summer.
Burns Elementary School is sponsoring the Exploration Station from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. every Tuesday from June 25 to July 16 on Towne Square Court for children who live in that area.
Sorgho Elementary School and West Louisville Elementary School are teaming up to host the bus from 5 to 7 p.m. June 27, and July 11 on the pavilion next to the Sorgho baseball field. SES is located at 5390 Kentucky 56.
Southern Oaks Elementary School is sponsoring the Exploration Station from 9:30 to 11 a.m. every Monday from July 1 to July 22 at apartment complexes on Chuck Gray Court for children who live in that neighborhood.