For two weeks during the summer, Houston County’s gifted and talented students are participating in Summer Enhancement.
These classes are designed for students in rising fourth-through-seventh grades.
“This is the joy of learning. No tests, no homework, just learning for fun,” said Jan Jacobsen, director of gifted education.
The nearly 500 students enrolled in the camp have had the opportunity to take courses such as oceanography, agriculture, drama, robotics, rocketry, cake decorating and outdoor survival.
The Get Up, Get Out, Get Outdoors class learned how to purify drinking water, boil an egg over a campfire and made bracelets out of parachute cord.
As 8-year-old Silas Mitchell was peeling his egg, getting ready to eat his protein-rich fire-boiled egg, he dropped it on the ground.
“A little dirt never hurt,” the rising fourth-grader said.
Instructor Donna Malone told the children never to eat anything undercooked in the wild. She also taught them how to preserve everything, including paper, cups, bottles and cans.
“This is an experience they don’t have anywhere else,” Joey Brett, the other instructor, said.
An open house will be held June 16 at 6:30 p.m. at Huntington Middle School, which will feature some of the work done during the camp as well as a performance of Disney’s “Peter Pan Jr.” by drama students.
Abbie Carr has been in two plays already, and she wants to be an actress when she grows up.
She has already performed in “Les Miserables” and “The Lion King” locally.
Her father, Justin Carr, has been in local performances as well and inspired her to try out.
“I asked him if I could do it with him, and then he took me to a tryout and I made it,” the Lake Joy Elementary School fifth-grader said.
Instructors from Northside and Warner Robins High schools were on hand to teach the drama course. Each school brought five students to help with the production of the play.
“For us, it’s been nice to deal with a different age group. We want them to get the exposure to theaters,” said Nick Sostillio, drama teacher at Warner Robins.
The cake decorating was held in the kitchen of Huntington where a group of girls learned how to make flowers out of fruit rollups. They also attended a cake decorating demonstration at Kroger.
Fourth-grader Mahogani Porter is an aspiring teacher, but she also loves to cook.
She decided to come to learn to decorate the cupcakes and cakes she makes at home.
“We’ve made a cupcake look like a pie,” Mahogani said.
Most teachers at the two-week class haven’t worked together before. Kay Squires is a clerk at Bonaire Middle, and Jessica LeBrun is a teacher at Tucker Elementary. Both wanted to teach about cake decorating.
They are brought together by common interests.
“We talk about teacher collaboration all the time, and it comes so naturally here,” Jacobsen said.