• 52°

Smart fun in the Summer

IRONTON — College is meant to be fun, even for grade-school students.

Back for its 29th year, Ohio University Southern’s Academy of Excellence provides students from across the Tri-State hands-on learning from area teachers and educators while experiencing a college campus environment.

Running for two weeks through Aug. 7, students in grades one though eight have the opportunity to spend two weeks at OUS taking classes in a variety of interests.

Classes run from 9 a.m. through 12:30 p.m. and allow students to choose two classes of their choice that interest them. Look at it as sort of an “electives” class before taking the mandatory requirements in the fall.

Participants in grades 1-4 also have a fitness period taught by South Point physical education teacher Mike Pleasant.

The program’s on-site coordinator Linda Mann said the curriculum gets better and better every year.

“It is such a fantastic program for both the kids and the volunteers, many of whom have been part of the program for many years,” Mann said.

With 127 students enrolled in 2009, the Academy for Excellence allows kids to continue learning year round explained Janet Wagner, coordinator of community education at OUS.

“It keeps the mind vibrant in the summer,” Wagner said.

Some of the classes offered this year include “Kids Creative Kitchen,” where students were being taught by Chad Burn to make marshmallow spiders; “My First Guitar,” in which Marjorie McKee had aspiring guitarists strumming “Amazing Grace” in unison and “Paint Like A Famous Artist.” Taught by Kim Johnson, the class had students learning the techniques of Georgia O’Keeffe when painting still life images.

In addition to the two-week camp at the OUS campus, a pair of one-week camps in horsemanship is being held at the Ohio Horse Park in Franklin Furnace.

The Academy of Excellence wraps up on August 7 with Family Cookout Day. Participants will treat their families to a hot dog lunch and a pair of theatre performances at 9:45 and 10:45 a.m.