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Adventures in academia

  • Published
  • By Airman Whitney Amstutz
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
June 22, 2010 was shaping up to be another average Tuesday on Andersen. The temperature outside was hot. The kind of hot that leaves a light sheen of sweat on your forehead in the time it takes to walk from your front door to your car. The traffic was bearable. It was a very average day on Andersen in every way but one.

School is perhaps the last place a person would expect to find happiness during the summer. But at Andersen Elementary School on this particularly average afternoon, the evidence is overwhelming: someone is having fun in the schoolhouse.

Teachers from Andersen and McCool Elementary Schools are preparing for the commencement of the annual Summer Enrichment Program on June 28
Maria Rubio, the summer enrichment program coordinator, and Dialma Cartagena, the teacher in charge of the program at Andersen Elementary, are amongst the educators working diligently to be ready for the arrival of the nearly 130 children on Monday morning.

The program, appropriately entitled Voyager, enables the children who participate in it to become exposed to different cultures and ethnicities at a young age. It allows them to explore the excesses of their imagination while remaining continually engaged in an atmosphere of learning. Children are able to maintain a social connection to their peers while gaining knowledge they will carry with them throughout life.

"On average, because we are limited to the enrollment size, each class has about 18 students," said Mrs. Rubio. "We have seven teachers this year."

Having been the acting teacher in charge for the past three summers, Mrs. Cartagena is excited about the turn out this year.

"Each year we have about 120 students who sign up for the program," she said, smiling. "This year, we have nearly 130."

The summer enrichment program is attracting a lot of attention. Each year the program focuses on a different area of education. This year the focus is the arts, said Mrs. Cartagena.

"They are going to be studying painters, composers, musicians and writers," she said. "They will learn about Shakespeare and Picasso. The program is from a perspective that the kids are going to travel and get to know the world and make the children well-rounded individuals."

The summer enrichment program has the ability to keep the kids engaged, said Mrs. Rubio.

"It is a very active program and it gets the kids up and moving so they're not just sitting at their desk," she said.

Not only does the summer enrichment program provide additional education for children, but it allows them to remain engaged both academically and socially throughout the summer months. The kids learn not only about standard subjects such as math and English, but about the arts. They are challenged to expand their intellectual horizons and find new ways of expressing themselves in a safe and nurturing environment.

"The voyagers are the students," said Mrs. Cartagena. "The lessons are adventures. The program is an adventure and that is unique."

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