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Program allows students to explore career fields

July 30, 2010
  • Fifth grader Robbie Doty talks about his computer game called "Monster Invasion" that he created in Hagerstown Community College's Computer Games Are Elementary class. The class is part of HCC's College for Kids Program that has been held for 7 weeks during the summer. The kids created their own computer games creating graphics, storylines, sound effects and packaging their games for family and friends. Robbie said he was inspired to include monsters because his dad writes reviews on monster movies.
By Yvette May/Staff Photographer,

Twenty-two years ago, Hagerstown Community College and the Washington County School Board teamed up to create College for Kids, a summer enrichment program held at HCC.

More than two decades later, the program continues its mission of providing youths in grades one to 10 with hands-on interactive learning experiences.

This summer's program began June 23 and ends next Friday.

Anne Myers, College for Kids coordinator, said the program was created to allow elementary and high school age students the option to explore career fields they might chose as their profession.

"It allows them to focus on areas they're particularly interested in," she said.

For high school students, Myers said, College for Kids introduces them to college life, familiarizing them with HCC's campus, faculty and staff.

The seven-week-long program has attracted more than 700 students each summer, said Beth Stull, director of public information for HCC.

"We have a lot of students that come here year after year after year," Stull said. "They come and get hooked on it."

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Mark Rogers is the instructor of the Computer Games Are Elementary class, which ended its weeklong run Friday.

An instructor of College for Kids for the past four years, Rogers said the computer gaming class is for students entering grades four and five.

In the class, students learned to produce computerized video games with Microsoft PowerPoint, developing their own graphics, storyline and sound effects, he said.

Robbie Doty, 10, was a student in Rogers' class. Before enrolling in College for Kids, he said he thought PowerPoint only was used to create school presentations, but he soon learned he could have fun with the program as well, even in a classroom setting.

"When you're my age, you want a challenge," said Robbie, a fifth-grader at Potomac Heights Elementary School. "It's kind of boring playing regular video games, but with this, you can make your own."

After just a week of attending the class, Robbie, who also attended last week's Crime Scene Detectives class, said he is interested in making game creating his full-time career.

Many students, such as Gabrielle Johnson, 9, never had been introduced to programs such as PowerPoint before enrolling in the class.

Now, the Smithsburg Elementary School fourth-grader believes she could produce games, slide shows and movies.

After a week of work in the class, she said she has an appreciation for those who do it on a regular basis.

"You should really give credit to people who makes movies and games because it's hard work," Gabrielle said.

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