Harlan County Summer Adventure 2014 lived up to its name as students experienced a wide variety of activities during the four-week session.
Students began their adventure by traveling to the Challenger Learning Center of Kentucky in Hazard for an intense five-day session full of science and experimentation.
Harlan County Schools 21st Century director Darlene Larkey came up with the idea to attend the science camp as a way to challenge some of the best and brightest students in Harlan County, who were all too happy to accept.
The center, based at Hazard Community and Technical College, offers a wide range of enrichment programs in the summer designed to spark imaginative learning. The camps teach science, technology, engineering and mathematics in a hands-on manner where students are out of the classroom and on their feet having fun and learning. Students were engaged in a series of fun hands-on experiments and demonstrations.
When the program returned to the HCHS campus for the second, third and fourth weeks, the focus shifted away from science to a variety of other activities, including literacy.
The Harlan Public Library played a huge role in the success of the program as they provided assistance with a variety of activities to help encourage our students to read.
Librarian Joanne Boggs brought the Bookmobile to school for three successive Mondays as students were given an opportunity to review hundreds of books. Several of them checked out books to read on their own or as part of the English classes offered during the program.
Laura Adkisson entertained the students with her “The Library is More Than Just Books” program. She gave the students, many of whom were not at all familiar with the library, a virtual tour of what is available. Students were given a chance to sample many of the video games available at the library and had a good time competing with each other during the program.
HCHS English teacher Tami Brock worked with the students on writing as each wrote a paper about their experiences during the program, including what they liked most about the program.
Students in the 21st Century program, both in the summer and during the regular school year, have an opportunity to have their work published through the electronic school newspaper sponsored by the 21st Century program. John Henson, the 21st Century coordinator, works with students in the writing process through completion and publication in Bear Tracks, the school newspaper.
One of the most popular components of the summer program the past three years has included visits to area colleges, giving many of our students who don’t have the means otherwise an opportunity to visit college campuses. The visits have helped quite a few students learn enough about college and the financial aid available to them and given them the push they needed to enroll. Students visited Union College in Barbourville, the University of the Cumberlands in Williamsburg and Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College in Cumberland on three successive Wednesdays.
Students celebrated the last college trip by making a stop at Kingdom State Park for a cookout led by Brock and Michael Hensley, the two teachers for the credit recovery program.
The program helped 11 students graduate through credit recovery classes in English and math that provided an intense review of coursework in more of a one-on-one manner that helped them catch up on what they missed during the regular school year. The credit recovery program is an important part of our efforts to connect with the regular school day and also assists students who are ready to move on to college or join the workforce.
Part of the summer program, as usual, was about having a good time, and students enjoyed a basketball break on a couple of mornings, led by former all-state basketball player Greg Coldiron, who now directs a youth program in Harlan County. Coldiron taught our students some of the fundamentals of basketball and led them through a variety of competitions that kept their interest and kept them entertained.
The Harlan County Extension Agency also played a big role in the program. Raymond Cox helped the students construct their own bird cages during his visit to the summer program. Jeremy Williams talked about the introduction of black bears to the area and how the bears have thrived in the area.
The summer program helped introduce students to what we offer in the HCHS after school program and helped others move on to college with a better idea of the challenges they will face in the next chapter of their lives.
For more information about the 21st Century after school program, open to all HCHS students, contact Henson at the school at 574-2020, Ext. 3566.