A student’s story

For students at Hughesville High School, this day marks the beginning of a journey that will last the next nine months. Officially, it’s only 180 days, but that doesn’t include the countless weekends spent studying for tests and working on projects. Starting today, school is back in session.

The students at Hughesville received their schedules a few weeks ago and ever since then cellphones have been buzzing constantly as students exchanged schedules and discussed what they are expecting from their classes.

Some students, like sophomore Savanna Schrader, are determined to make this year their very best. “As I continue getting older, the amount of school work continues to grow. The homework and tests are sometimes overwhelming. This year, I’m striving to get better grades and work as hard every week of school as I do the first,” she said.

Coming into a fresh school year, it’s easier for a student to be motivated in completing their school work and studying for tests. As the year goes on, that motivation becomes harder and harder to find, making this goal a good one for students everywhere to have.

Other students can’t wait to see their friends and are anxious for the new school year.

“I’m thrilled to go back! I miss my friends and socializing every day,” student Rachel Thomas said.

Although summer vacation gives students a welcomed break from school work, it also separates them from their friends. After spending seven hours a day with the same people for 180 days, students become accustomed to constantly socializing.

For students that live outside of town, it becomes difficult to spend time with friends. Social media and cellphones have made dealing with this easier, but these don’t even come close to talking in person. School coming back means that old friends will be reunited and new friendships will be formed.

Some students are fearful for the upcoming school year. Their carefree summer will end and they now will be spending their weekdays in a classroom.

“I’m nervous because I’m afraid that I won’t be able to handle all my classes. I’m expecting this year to be tough,” Emily Akers, Hughesville sophomore said.

Coming into a new school year always is a scary thing. Students have all new classes with all new teachers and returning to the strict school schedule can be a culture shock for students who are used to sleeping in until noon.

Coming into school today, students at Hughesville High School had no idea what to expect. Some students may leave school dreading the thought of coming back while others may have left thrilled with their new classes and expecting a great year.

Either way, students have just begun another year of school and should make the best of it. The summer of 2016 will be here before the students realize, after all, they only have 179 days left.

Thompson is a ninth grade student at Hughesville High School. Her column is published on the second and last Mondays of each month in the Education section. She can be reached at education@sungazette.com.

A student’s story

Some parents can’t wait to get their children out of the house, but is sending an 8 year old to college going too far? Absolutely not!

Every summer, Lycoming College hosts the yearly Lycoming College for Kids and Teens. This is an interactive summer program where students age seven to fourteen participate in active, hands-on classes that cover unique topics. Some of these classes include Young Inventors, which explores the science of toy making, and Junior Journalists, where the students are given the opportunity to play the role of journalist and also write and edit their own articles for the College for Kids online newspaper.

According to the Lycoming College for Kids and Teens webpage, the program was founded by Dr. Melvin Zimmerman, professor of biology at Lycoming College. He founded it to let the children have the opportunity to take courses where they have time to explore the topic of their class, unlike the short, under an hour classes that most public schools provide. Some students, like Myken Barnes age nine from Williamsport, have gone since they were able and attending has become a tradition. For others, like Sophia Clark age nine from Muncy, it is their first year and they can’t wait to tell all their friends about it.

Though the students are the whole reason for the camp, they are not the only necessity needed to keep the program running. Teens over the age of sixteen have the ability to apply as assistants in the classrooms. Several high school students have used this opportunity to gain community service hours. The assistants want nothing more than to spend time helping the students learn and are vital to the program. As four year assistant Olivia Angevine said, “I do it because I love working with the kids. It’s a great program for the students to do, everything runs well and I’m just sad it doesn’t last longer because I’m just not ready to leave yet.”

Even though the assistants are essential to the program, they too would be in disarray without the staff. Director Robin Van Auken, Assistant Director Debbie Smith and Coordinator Darlene Connelly run the show at College for Kids. They are dedicated to the program and have helped to carry it through 30 very successful years. According to Director Robin Van Auken, the main focus of the camp is, “to expand in STEAM This means science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. What we do here is augment STEM and STEAM education by providing hands-on activities for children of all ages.” While most public schools are primarily focused on STEM, this program gives students the opportunity to take in depth courses on the arts, such as writing, global arts, photography, architecture and much more.

This year, the program offered 23 different courses and is constantly growing. “People come up through the program as students and then assistants and say ‘hey, I want to teach’ and these new classes come from the imagination and creativity of people who went through the program,” Van Auken said.

With hundreds upon hundreds of graduated students, Lycoming College for Kids and Teens has proven its value again and again throughout the years. As the program celebrates its 30th anniversary, students, assistants and the staff all hope that it will have many more years to give.

Thompson is a ninth grade student at Hughesville High School. Her column is published on the second and last Mondays of each month in the Education section. She can be reached at education @sungazette.com.