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Students stay sharp in classes

From water balloon fights to daring lightning bug captures, little bodies get plenty of exercise during the summer months.

But what about little minds?

To help keep them active, Ohio University Southern's Center for Innovation and Leadership is offering some students the chance to explore some exciting topics on the OUS campus.

Around 200 students will participate in the Primary Scholars Program (for first through fourth grade students) and the Academy of Excellence (for fifth through eighth graders).

Despite the somewhat stuffy titles of the programs, the classes that make them up are decidedly more exciting, said Eileen Wilds, program director of the Center for Innovation and Leadership.

"It's fun school, so that makes the difference," Wilds said. "It gives them a chance to go outside the boundaries of what they can normally do in the school system."

Since Monday, students have been taking part in non-traditional classes such as "Cartoon Art," "Creative Fashions," and even a class called "Great Explorations" at the Nature Center at Lake Vesuvius.

Rick Eid is the IT Services and Business Development Consultant for the center, but for the next two weeks he'll be teaching "Computer Fun."

"We show them not only how to play games, but other activities," Eid said. "We downloaded a template for a paper airplane, then we got to the Web site and see how to put them together, then we go fly them. It's a neat break from teaching adults, you get to just have a blast."

On Monday he showed the students how to take a computer apart, and joked with parents that he plans to show them how to put it back together next week.

The program is open to students who have been designated as "academically advanced" by their schools. This year students have come from all Lawrence County school districts, a few from Scioto County and Ashland, Ky.

The attendance at the programs continues to expand as the demand continues to rise.

"Parents love it, we've got a long waiting list to get in to the program," Wilds said. "They're lined up on the first day ready to sign up."

And the kids?

"Well, they're the ones that push the parents to get here on the first day," Wilds said with a smile.