When Nathai Wonas goes back to school in September and is asked how he spent his summer vacation, he can say he dissected a sheep’s eye, brain and heart, a chicken’s wing, a mouse and a rat.
Nathai, 12, a seventh grader at Trinity School, was not conducting these anatomy experiments at his home, but at Howard Community College’s Junior Medic summer class.
He enrolled in the class because “it sounded pretty cool,” especially the part about opening up different animals.
“It’s pretty fun and disgusting at the same time,” Nathai added.
For 33 summers, Howard Community College has offered its summer enrichment program, Kids on Campus.
This summer is the first time 6-year-olds are able to enroll in classes. Children between the ages of 6 and 17 are eligible for Kids on Campus.
There is a morning and afternoon session each week of the program. While children do not have to attend both sessions, if they do, they are required to enroll in the lunch program. Most classes run for one week, with a few running for two weeks.
Even though Kids on Campus is a summer camp, the children who attend are traditionally called students, not campers, according to Carrie Brinser, marketing coordinator in the college’s division of continuing education and workforce development.
This summer, 277 class sections are being offered, including ones for special effects makeup, coding and robotics with Legos, Harry Potter, wood shop, various SAT preps, and Drone Pilot 101, where the children build a drone and perform test flights.
In Hope Corrigan’s Stock Market Game class, students are given a fictional $100,000 to invest over the course of the week. The students are able to purchase stocks from a total of six companies, including Apple, Facebook, Uber, Amazon, Visa, McDonald’s and Nike — but they can also choose as few as three.
Each day, they track how the stocks are doing to see if they are losing money or, more importantly, earning from their investments.
Caden Maynard, 12, a seventh grader at Burleigh Manor Middle, said he was “not doing that good” on the last day of the class. Even so, he enjoyed learning about the stock market.
“My grandpa bought me stocks when I was little … so I can earn money,” Caden said.
At the end of each summer, students, parents and the teachers fill out a course evaluation form that helps determine what classes will be offered for the following year, according to Elizabeth Watson, senior director of continuing education and community development.
“We look at what classes were popular,” Watson said. “We have some kids [who] take the same classes each and every summer.”
One class that fills quickly is Fun with Fondant, where students learn and practice cake decorating. On the last day of the week-long class, students bring in a cake and decorate it, utilizing the skills they learned and their imagination.
Pat Stein, a local glass artist who also has been a cake decorator for 30 years, enjoys teaching the fondant class each summer.
Given only basic instructions, Stein said the students take their cakes “to a whole other level.”
“Watching with what they come up with … they amaze me,” she said.
Students designed cakes that featured Star Wars characters, a unicorn narwhal party, pink and yellow roses, a winter wonderland, sushi and a smiling taco.
To create her smiling taco cake, Lea Barsky, 11, baked a circular cake and then cut it in half to have it resemble a hard taco shell. She then iced the taco shell yellow and created lettuce, tomato, meat and cheese out of fondant.
“I love eating tacos,” the Clarksville Middle sixth grader said.
Classes range in price from $125 to $389. Most class prices fall in the range of $205 to $275. Each morning and afternoon session is a separate price and the supervised lunch portion, where students bring their own lunch, is $21 per week.
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Kids on Campus ends Aug. 16. For more information, visit howardcc.edu.