Alvarado Independent School District’s technology department recently completed its first Community Mapping Day on April 21 where students, parents and other community members were invited to utilize new GPS technology in mapping current park features at Parkway Park in Alvarado.

The event, which included sixth-grade volunteers from Alvarado Intermediate School, also allowed participants to create their own plans for a suggested addition to the community park.

“We are proud to offer this opportunity for our students to not only learn more about GPS technology, but also to become actively contributing members of our society and to learn the value of giving their time and energy to make Alvarado a better place,” said Julie Holland, AISD instructional technologist and local GPS guru.

“Students used GPS units to survey the park and mapped out a proposed water feature for future park development,” Holland added. “They will also have an opportunity to present their proposals to the members of the parks and recreation committee.”

The Community Mapping Day was organized following a successful social studies project at AIS where students were first introduced to GPS technology.

“[Students] learned very quickly and were quite proficient at using this cutting-edge technology,” Holland said. “Now they had a chance to put their skills to great use for our city.”

Holland said the difference between the fall and spring activities was the addition of using mapping software in conjunction with GPS.

“I felt like helping the park was fun and exciting to me,” sixth grader Amy Hall said. “It was a fun activity.”

Paige Woodard said she’s not nervous about presenting the students’ ideas to the parks and recreation committee.

“It should be interesting listening to all the different ideas,” Woodard said. “It was a good experience,and it made me feel good to help.”

Most students agreed the experience was fun and exciting.

“My favorite thing was planning the duck pond,” Sarah Sullivan said, who also let one of the group’s secrets out of the bag. “At first, I felt like it was going to be boring and tiring…but it wasn’t.”

Holland said the group’s findings and suggestions will be presented to the parks and recreation committee in early summer.