WILKINSON COUNTY, Ga. — From karate to dance classes, Wilkinson County Elementary students are loving the new after-school Full STEAM Ahead program.

"Learning how to respect people, and defend ourselves and exercise," said fifth grader Corben Floyd.

"I learn not to be afraid... just go out and do what you want," said fourth grader Madison Bache.

Assistant Principal Jennifer Dunbar applied for the $5,000 Rural Education Fund Grant. 

Now, her students have the opportunity to take karate, music, dance and junior scientist classes after school

"Where we're situated, the access to dance studios and karate studios are not as near as we would like them to be. So, being able to expose those two interest areas right here on site is just amazing," Dunbar said.

The program is open to 3rd, 4th and 5th graders. 

It started in October and their instructors are already seeing a major difference.

"In approximately 10 classes, these kids have become so much more focused and respectful, and they're working with each other," said karate instructor Jan Kump.

"My students have become more confident in themselves. First, I was teaching them some routines and now we're kind of like working together. I'll teach them something, they'll teach me something, so that way it's for them," said dance instructor Kaitlin Austin.

"Dancing makes me feel like I'm with unicorns and rainbows, it just makes me feel so excited," said fourth grader Onyx Jones said.

"I love it so much because it makes me feel like a superstar, and that's always what I wanted to be," fourth grader Aubrei Tatum.

Wilkinson County Elementary received the maximum amount of $5,000 from the Rural Education Fund Grant, and the Wilkinson County Sheriff's Office donated money to cover the cost of the karate uniforms.

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