“This is our first year. We — several of us — started planning probably eight months ago, and it has been pretty much all of us,” he said. “Leadership, central office, administration, principals, teachers. We had a lot of input from parents who are looking for more enrichment programs for their kids.”
Young said the “hands-on” intensive learning is heavy on science and technology but also offers kids in grades K-8 a chance to dabble in the arts — possibly in the same day.
More than 30 classes were offered. Any child was welcome, Young said, but the classes filled up fast with Boyle County kids, including those bused in from Junction City and Perryville. Each child had morning and afternoon programs.
The program was free to the students. Thanks to a federal program that covered those costs, even the included breakfast and lunch was free. Some teachers received a stipend, but many classes were taught by volunteers.
“We may have to consider expanding to add a week next year,” Young said.
The initial course ideas were floated months ago and, while good, Young was astounded by the ideas that ended up on the curriculum.
“These are the kinds of things they have always wanted to teach so it is putting the fun back into teaching for teachers, too,” he said.
One of the offerings may well find its way into the class schedule at Bluegrass Community and Technical College in the fall — especially after the eighth- and ninth-graders who participated take their class projects to the streets.
It was hard to tell who had more fun at the only off-site class on the list, “Kids that Rip!”
Was it the student who had to literally be pushed out of the building on the first day of class or the instructors, Mark Welch and Russell Chaney who volunteered to teach about a dozen boys and girls how to design and build skateboards, using the top-grade machines at BCTC?
Tables were lined with hardware such as “trucks” and wheels and layered, curved template boards in which each student drilled holes to attach the hardware. The student then shaped the boards and sanded the edges smooth before applying signature colors all along the edge.
“There really is no precise plan in place,” Chaney said.
“We are just doing this as it comes, on the fly,” Welch said.
Non-skid for the top is normally laid like formica on a kitchen floor. Here, not so much.
Using a computer-generated laser device, this non-skid is dragons.
What happens next is so clever as to be ingenious.
“This is, you know, cabinet shelf ... liner paper, you know?” Welch said.
Students created a hand-drawn design or chose clip art from one of the 400,000 images available in the lab.
The art was scanned and printed on liner paper. The student then colored it in and spread it on the board before permanently sealing it.
Also permanently sealed was a laser-cut metal plate with the student’s name that is part signature and part theft deterrent.
Back at the high school, kids were running in the halls and screaming with terror.
“Lights! Camera! Action!” was the title of a class taught by parent volunteer Roger Voss in which a movie was produced via iPad. Running and screaming in the halls indicated the genre might be horror, but the giggling between scenes confirmed the screamers were only acting.
Another class that proved to be popular was “Carnival Games.” Kids learned about probability through making their own games and setting up a booth. The “winner” was the booth that earned the most money.
CSI kids learned to use police methods as crime-solving tools and were quickly processing prints and identifying substances.
Substances of the human body was the theme of “Gross Anatomy” taught by Junction City Elementary School teacher Kristen Lucas.
Two words: ear wax.
One word: gross!
“Yes, we are making some to take home,” Lucas said and pulled out a sample — from a plastic bag, that is.