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Summer school turned summer camp lets kids soar

“All things doughy” and “Babysitter Training” were just two of the classes offered during SOAR at Rocky Heights Middle School.  Students enjoyed seeing their friends and having new experiences in this unique program offered by the school.

By Rachel Zetwick, intern writer; photos courtesy of Patti Anoff 

This summer, incoming sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students had the opportunity to learn and grow during SOAR (Succeed, Opportunity, Advancement, Reinforcement) at Rocky Heights Middle School (RHMS).  The program ran from July 17 through July 30.  During the program, students were able to take three courses a day from 8 a.m. to noon each week, ranging from math and reading to archery, cooking, and mountain biking.

Patti Anoff, the director of the program and a teacher at RHMS, highlighted that students who enrolled in the program had an opportunity to brush up on academic skills while also learning about something unique.  “It gives students an opportunity to try new things they aren’t able to take or [are not] offered during school, thus giving them an opportunity to expand their knowledge base,” said Anoff.

Although the program took place during the summer, the SOAR staff emphasized that this was not summer school.  Anoff described it as a summer camp where students could prepare for their education next year while also having fun.  Numerous RHMS staff members and feeder area teachers taught the courses and made the camp educational and fun for students.

Each year, parents and students have given very positive feedback about the program.  After three years of SOAR, many students have come year after year to learn and have fun at the middle school.  Each session in the program runs for a week, but students can take more than one session to maximize the amount of courses they take.

“It gives them a great opportunity to do something fun and creative in a non-threatening environment with instructors who want to be there and enjoy teaching,” said Anoff.  Each week, a student could take one, two, or three courses with new courses being added each week.  The program was open to anyone and there are not any other camps offered like this in the district.  Both students and parents received a beneficial experience from attending SOAR.



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