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Kids on Campus continues to grow at OCU

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Kids on Campus students learn about solar energy. (Submitted photo)

Ohio Christian University hosted area elementary school children on June 8 through 19 for the ninth annual Kids on Campus summer enrichment program.

A total of 246 first- through fourth-graders experienced academic life on a college campus while improving their math, science, art and technology skills. The program is coordinated by Pickaway HELPS (Higher Education for Learners Partnership) in partnership with Ohio Christian University, and with generous support from PPG Industries. Thanks to their contributions in time and money, the cost for “Kids on Campus” has remained $35 per student each year, which includes supplies and a colorful t-shirt. The Circleville City School Foundation paid for 20 participants.

“This is a meaningful experience across the board to students of all ages,” said Christy Mills, executive director of Pickaway HELPS. “The elementary level kids participated in lots of hands-on fun activities with the bonus of establishing an early familiarity and comfort level with a college campus.”

When asked what they liked the most about the Kids on Campus experience on an end-of-course survey, students responded:

“Friendly teachers and kids.”

“Experiments!”

“Going on the tour of campus.”

“I liked everything to the moon and back 2,000 times!!!”

Additionally, students said they felt “smart,” “excited,” “grown-up,” “like I’m in college,” and “I’m too old next year– boo!”

“Each year enrollment has grown from the first year when 20 participated,” Mills said. “In the past we added afternoon sessions and technology, then this year we added art, and again had more students participate in Kids on Campus than ever before. Plans are already in process for the addition of music classes in 2016.”

In addition to the classroom teachers, Kids on Campus was made possible with the help of older student volunteers in each classroom. This year, middle school through college-age students helped each day, donating their time as a community service and also finding out if maybe education might be a career path they would like to pursue.

Science teacher Rolanda Hurtt has 34 years teaching experience, including the last year at Ohio Christian University. She is retired from the Circleville City School District and holds a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Ashland University.

Technology teacher Ashlee Engel has taught first grade for eight years in the Logan Elm School District and holds a master’s degree in education media design & technology.

Math teacher Amy Happenny has taught for 24 years in the Teays Valley School District and has a master’s degree in The Art of Teaching from Marygrove College.

Visual arts teacher Amanda Patterson has been teaching for eight years and has a bachelor of fine arts in art education.

This article originally appeared on The Pickaway News Journal