OUS gifted program continues

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 3, 2006

Thirteen-year-old Rachel Phillips smiles atop her horse, Rosie, during her horseback riding class as part of the Academy of Excellence 2006, an academic summer program.

Her hands-on-experience with riding and grooming the horses, as well as learning safety fundamentals, was at Franklin Furnace at the Ohio Horse Park.

The Primary Scholars Program and the Academy of Excellence’s 20th annual summer program was hosted by Ohio University Southern in Ironton. The event, which runs through Friday, is oopen to children entering grades first though eighth are offered an opportunity to take specialized classes in a college setting.

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This year’s theme was Summer Adventures at OUS.

The selective program caters toward highly motivated and talented students who seek further academic stimulation during the summer.

To be eligible for the elite program, an interested student must have demonstrated above-average ability in school, as well as curiosity in a specific discipline, said Carol Allen, a program organizer.

“Not only are the list of courses educational, but (also) they are fun,” said Allen.

The classes are limited to about 12 children, and each child is allowed to choose two classes from a list of 16. Classes range from language based, Spanish, sign language and Swahili; to art related, such as “Video Yearbook” and “Young Writers Workshop;” to math- and science-oriented, such as “How Things Work” and “Weird Science.”

The morning classes — from 9 to 12:30 p.m. — offer participants a chance to do things they otherwise would never get a chance to do, Allen said.

Rachel Phillips can attest to that.

Before enrolling in the horseback riding class, she had never been on a horse; and now, just a week after riding tutorials, she can confidently mount and direct a horse.

The program’s instructors have faith in their students’ success, an organizer said. As evident on the horse site, David Nichols, an instructor and OUS Equine Studies major, guides and encourages his students within the riding ring.

Summer Adventures at OUS will have a ceremonial closure with a family cookout and certificates of achievements given out Friday morning.

If interested in the Primary Scholars Program and the Academy of Excellence, visit OUS at 1804 Liberty Ave. in Ironton or log onto its Web site at www.southern.ohiou.edu/