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College for kids

August 09, 2004|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - A Hagerstown Community College summer program for kids that mixes fun and education continues to grow in size and popularity, Program Coordinator Anne Myers said Sunday.

The last day of the program was Friday, which also was the day of a performance of "Lord of the Rings" by students in a class that focused on the books and movies, she said.

The program began about 15 years ago with just a few classes on topics including watercolor painting, theater and performance arts, she said.

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The number of classes has increased and changed over the years, as has the content, she said.

This year, 440 students attended 29 classes, she said.

In recent years, about 300 to 350 students attended about 17 to 25 classes, she said.

Some classes, such as the one on the "Lord of the Rings," were offered for the first time this year, she said. Students in the class wrote an adapted version of the last movie of the trilogy and acted it out at Kepler Theater on Friday, she said.

Many of the students memorized their lines and made props for the play that was about 30 minutes long, she said.

Another popular new class this year was "Crime Scene Detective," in which students used forensic science - as is done on the television series "CSI" - to solve crimes. There were 15 students in the class and a waiting list of others who wanted to take it, she said.

There are some perennial favorites, including:

  • "Dino Might," in which students learn about the different types of dinosaurs, dig for dinosaur bones and have a dinosaur egg hunt.

  • "Bug Me!," in which students learn about types of bugs. At one point, the students had to capture a bug outside and identify it.

  • "Vet Academy," in which students learn about the veterinary profession and visit the Humane Society of Washington County facilities.


In its first few years, the program was only for elementary school students, but over the years it has expanded to include students ranging from first grade to high school seniors, Myers said.

The programs about dinosaurs and bugs, for example, are for first- and second-graders; the one on "Lord of the Rings" was for students in grades six through eight; and a program about repairing and networking computers was for students in grades eight through 12.

While the students in the program are younger than the average college student, their presence at the college makes total sense because it fits with the college's goal of providing a "learner-centered, accessible lifelong learning experience," Myers said.

The program also may inspire students to pursue degrees and careers as veterinarians or forensic scientists, she said.

Many of the instructors for the classes return repeatedly, she said.

As part of an appraisal and evaluation, teachers and college officials talk about what classes they should offer next year. They are talking, for example, about offering a Spanish class next summer, she said.

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