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Academy of Excellence kicks-off at OUS

IRONTON — Ohio University Southern kicked off its 30th annual Academy of Excellence Monday. The academy draws children in first through eighth grades from all over the region.

“It just gives the kids a little bit of exposure to college and keeps their brains working in the summer time,” said Janet Wagner, coordinator of community education and summer programs at OUS.

This year’s academy featured classes about various topics such as theater, stained glass art, the outdoors and the solar system.

The theater class, dubbed “Learn the art of theater” features an instructor who is originally from Ironton but has been teaching at the University of California, Wagner said. The theater class will perform for academy students Aug.6.

Besides giving the students a chance to experience the school, the camp also serves as a sort of recruiting tool for students, Wagner said.

“I think it’s a very good positive recruiting tool,” Wagner said. The students come from Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia to attend the camp, she said.

Most of the instructors are OUS graduates, Linda Mann, an education instructor at OUS, said. The instructors attempt to make their students have a positive experience at the camp, she said.

“(They know) they could be future students,” Mann said. “If they have a positive experience we hope that it carries over to where they’re thinking, ‘I’d like to go to school there,’” Mann said.

Despite the college offering a discounted price for the camp, this year enrollment for the camp was down a little, Wagner said.

This year the camp has 101 students and last year there were 122. The price for two classes is $60 this year, down from $110 last year.

Wagner attributes the difference in enrollment to the economy and the multiple other obligations that children have during the summer.

Mann said she wants the children to enjoy themselves at camp.

“I want them to have a great time and to want to come back,” she said. “To just enjoy themselves and know they can have fun with school subjects.”

The camp will run from until Aug. 6. A 30-year anniversary celebration for the academy will be from noon to 3 p.m. Aug. 6 at OUS.