Enriched by old and new

Annual summer academy under way this week

The sweet scent of cookies baking wafted through the halls of the east side of the Bellefontaine High School on Tuesday while the acrid odor of gutted yellow perch permeated the biology lab on the opposite side of the building.


Nearly 400 youths from five local schools are participating in the annual Summer Enrichment Academy this week at Bellefontaine High School. The children each selected from one of about two dozen courses and attend two hours each morning for the weeklong academy. The sweet scent of cookies emanated from the home economics rooms (above) as youths competed in the Top Chef Cooking Challenge, led by Sheridon Storm, and being judged by pastry chefs from City Sweets and Creamery. Meanwhile, the smell wasn’t as pleasant on the opposite side of the building as Wyatt Latimer, a Bellefontaine fifth-grader, and others dissect yellow perch (also pictured in Wednesday's Examiner) as part of the Sharks Week (and Other Fish) aquatic biology course presented by Bruce Smith. (EXAMINER PHOTOS | REUBEN MEES)

In the courtyard, some students learned from a NASA aerospace engineer about the future of rocket science while other youths made spears — under the supervision of a local history buff — the way Shawnee Indians were doing it more than 200 years ago.

The sharp contrast of the scene reflects the wide variety of interests of nearly 400 local second- through eighth-grade students who are busy keeping their minds sharp during the annual Summer Enrichment Academy this week.

While Bellefontaine High School plays host to the event, the nearly 400 students assemble from Bellefontaine, Benjamin Logan, Ridgemont, Indian Lake and Riverside schools and the weeklong activity is organized by gifted coordinators Sally Stolly of Ben Logan, Angie Horvath of Bellefontaine, Jennifer Frederick of Ridgemont and Erica Baer of the Midwest Regional Educational Service Center.

The SEA program began in the 1980s as the Saturday Enrichment Academy, but ceased in the 1990s when the Bellefontaine High School went through renovations, Stolly said. The program started up again as a summer academy in 2004 and is now in its 15th year.

Today’s courses offer a modern blend of science and pop culture references.

In Lauren Burkhardt’s Help! I’m Stuck in a LEGO Movie! course, Riverside fifth-grader Gillian Knight meticulously posed scenes and captured them using a tablet computer in a frame-by-frame Jurassic World-style chase scene.

She said the whole video clip she was producing Tuesday morning might last 30 seconds to a minute.

In addition to the popular building blocks, the 11 students in the class were going to experiment with clay-mation and Skittle art later in the week, Burkhardt said.

Complete story and more photos in Wednesday's Examiner
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