STARBASE relaunches at Maxwell



by Master Sgt. Michael Voss
Air University Public Affairs


11/9/2012 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala.  -- Leadership from the Air University and Maxwell attended one of the most anticipated reopenings in the base's recent history: STARBASE Maxwell.

November 2 marked the grand reopening of STARBASE Maxwell after being closed 19 months due to renovations to the building in which it is located.

The Department of Defense funded youth activity was closed in April 2011 for needed repairs to building 835's heating, ventilation and air conditioning system.

STARBASE Maxwell helps local fifth-grade students study science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines beyond their current grade level. During the five-day class, students learn through hands-on activities, including rocketry, hovercraft and simulator flight.

Each year, STARBASE Maxwell hosts more than 1,000 students from five school systems, including Montgomery, Autauga and Elmore counties, as well as Maxwell Elementary Middle School and the local home school association. Schools, working through liaisons, are scheduled on a three-year rotational basis.

"I received a lot of calls from our liaisons while we were closed, asking when STARBASE was reopening," said Chip Haughton, director of STARBASE Maxwell. "Students show a 22 percent increase in the Alabama Reading and Mathematics Test Plus than students who do not (attend STARBASE), so our liaisons know how important this program is."

With the reopening, the STARBASE Maxwell staff anticipated many requests for attendance. This year alone, Elmore County has 13 classes scheduled to attend. To handle the heavy demand, STARBASE added three new teachers.

"I actually came to STARBASE a couple years ago as an Elmore County teacher, and I loved it and saw the impact it makes," said Brandi Douglas, new STARBASE Maxwell teacher. "You would have to see the amazement and excitement on our students faces when they come. Teaching here is what every teacher dreams about."

According to STARBASE Maxwell teachers, the program is dynamic and continues to grow, enhancing the learning experience for the Alabama students who attend.

"STARBASE Maxwell is about providing the spark to get the kids to think about what they can do," said Haughton. "It is long overdue, but we are back, more prepared and ready to go."