Students in Stuttgart learn about New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina, coastal erosion, and careers in civil engineering during visit from author Courtney Kelly.
DALLAS, April 25, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — The journey of a Hurricane Katrina survivor’s ambitious dream to save New Orleans from flooding created an educational and fun experience for over 1,250 students during a March 2023 visit by author Courtney Kelly to three American military-connected elementary schools in Stuttgart, Germany. Through story time readings, a STEM-themed hands-on activity, and a writing workshop, kids in grades K-5 were able to interact with the author of Celeste Saves the City in a meaningful way.
The three-day tour began at Stuttgart Elementary School (SES) as students learned about Courtney Kelly’s life and experiences. Then came time for the reading of Celeste Saves the City. In the self-published book, Celeste is forced to evacuate from New Orleans because of Hurricane Katrina. She grows up to become a civil engineer who saves the city from flooding by building barrier islands that protect the coast and help preserve existing wetlands. Students were then given LEGOs and tasked with building their own barrier islands. This engaging activity connected the dots between the book and how they could become a civil engineer like Celeste. Once their masterpieces were completed, students showcased their creations. Thanks to the generosity of the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) and the Harriet R. Tubman Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star, each of the 550 students at SES received an autographed copy of the book.
“Courtney Kelly’s visit to Stuttgart Elementary School was everything we hoped it would be. As a military affiliated school overseas, we don’t have many opportunities for special guest speakers. The teachers and students alike praised her engagement with the students, and they loved the hands-on activity that correlated to the book. Her work is such an inspiration to the students at Stuttgart Elementary,” says Chanel Beebe, SES PTA’s Read Across America Chair.
At Robinson Barracks Elementary, 250 students participated in the story time reading and barrier island activity. The bright and talented children took on the challenge with curiosity and thoughtfulness. This was followed by a trip to Patch Elementary where 4th and 5th graders were led by Courtney in a writing workshop. The focus was “write your own story” and students started from scratch with a topic of their choosing and by the end, there was enough content to write the first few sentences of their stories. The tour culminated with the final event – an all-school assembly where more than 450 students filled the auditorium for a story time reading followed by a lively Q&A session.
The success of this event could not have been possible without the dedication of the administration, teachers, staff, parent teacher associations, and volunteers of these schools under the care of the Department of Defense Education Activity’s Stuttgart Community Schools District.
About the Author: Courtney Kelly
A native of New Orleans, Louisiana, Courtney is a commercial and heavy civil construction project manager and licensed professional engineer with over 10 years of experience. Courtney holds two B.S. degrees, Civil Engineering and Math, and one M.S. degree in Civil Engineering from Southern Methodist University. She also holds an MBA from Lamar University. Courtney was recently named an Engineering-News Record Texas and Louisiana 2023 Top Young Professional.
Imprint: Courtney Kelly Books
On sale: May 17, 2022
SOURCE Courtney Kelly Books