WSCC College for Kids program brings out the best in students

SCOTTVILLE — “They have smiles on their faces and they are learning.”

Brenna Johnson and Elizabeth Logan who attend Maniste Catholic Central tie dye shirts as part of the Fabric, Painting and Dying class of Amanda Mobley taught in the College for Kids program.

Brenna Johnson and Elizabeth Logan who attend Maniste Catholic Central tie dye shirts as part of the Fabric, Painting and Dying class of Amanda Mobley taught in the College for Kids program.

Mark Willis who was teaching the pond ecology class for the West Shore Community College College for Kids program said those words while wearing a big smile of his own. It was almost hard to tell who was having more fun looking for the “critters” in the WSCC pond — Willis or the kids.

College for Kids is the unique program run by WSCC that pairs up children in the fourth to eighth grade with college level professors in a fun, learning environment. WSCC Business Center executive director Crystal Young, who coordinates the program with Cara Mitchell and Deborah Jacobs, said they had more students enroll this year.

“We have nearly 90 students which is up from last year,” said Young. “There is so much room for growth, but we had new classes plus the old tried and true ones so it is going great. Cara and Deborah have done so much work on this that it wouldn’t have been possible to run it without all their work.”

Students will be attending classes all this week with some taking a full day (two classes) and the rest taking a half day (one class) from the 21 classes that were offered in a wide variety of areas. Young said they were surprised at classes that drew exceptionally well this year.

“I would say the ‘Farm to Fork’ class that coincided with our ‘Culinary Cuisine Class’  went over very well,” she said.

Another class that was doing quite well was the “Where the Rubber Meets the Road: Philosophy and Everyday Life.” That class was taught by WSCC philosophy professor Matt Sanderson.

“Yesterday was all on wisdom and how you define wisdom, and I know he is going to have some ethical debates, so it is fascinating,” said Young. “It keeps young people thinking about some different things.”

Young said that some of the classes that feature outdoor activities have been especially blessed with the warm summer weather.

“Our pond ecology class is overflowing with kids as is the outdoor survival class, which we supplied with water bottles to keep the kids hydrated because it is going to get hot out there in the next several days,” said Young. “It has just been so neat to see not only the reaction of the kids, but the parents as well. The parents said their kids couldn’t stop talking about it when they got home because it was so much fun.”

Young said some of the stories behind the scenes have been just as incredible. She said one woman volunteered to drive out some of her neighborhood kids every day that couldn’t afford to attend if they could get a scholarship.

Game programming drew a big number of students and Kennedy Elementary student Trent Brewer said it was an opportunity to learn some new things.

“I like how there are games and how to create games,” he said. “I have learned some new things.”

Mason County Central student Jordan Krieger said for him the opportunity to be creative is what attracted him to the class.

“I like that you can create games and make your own games,” he said. “You can make what you want and be yourself. This is the first time I have taken a class like this one.”

Students in the “Culinary Cuisine” class were given the chance to make omelets and French toast that they enjoyed eating afterwards. On Tuesday they followed that up with a Taco Tuesday. They also plan to do some desserts, pasta dishes and pizza the rest of the week.

Manistee Catholic Central students Brenna Johnson and Elizabeth Logan were having fun in the “Fabric Design: Painting and Dying” class taught by Brethren Schools art teacher Amanda Mobley.

“I like that we get a tie dye shirt out of it,” said Johnson. “I am designing it with whatever I want.”

Logan said she was just having fun with it.

“For me it’s just a lot of fun,” she said.

Mobley said the class has been fun for her as well.

“This is great and I was telling them what a big difference teaching 30 kids in the classroom like I do at Brethren and have seven here which is wonderful,” said Mobley. “I have a great group. They are really into it and Friday we are going to have a fashion show with what we made.”

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Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at kgrabowski@pioneergroup.com.

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