Jump-starting young minds

Kids on Campus returns for 36th year

BY ANTHONY PLESCIA
STAFF WRITER

PHOTOS BY ELLEN J. HOCHBERG Rocket Science instructor Jordan Orlewicz, left, assists a student with his rocket prior to the launching.

PHOTOS BY ELLEN J. HOCHBERG
Rocket Science instructor Jordan Orlewicz, left, assists a
student with his rocket prior to the launching.

Every July and early August, thousands of pre-school through high school students converge onto the campus of Schoolcraft College for Kids on Campus. Kids on Campus is a program that debuted 36 years ago to offer young students an opportunity to come onto campus for an exciting hands-on learning experience.

“It exposes my kids to skills that they would otherwise not recieve in the K-12, such as culinary arts, building robots and nursing,” said Jerry Piasentin, Project Engineer for Schoolcraft whose children have participated in the program for several years.

At the time of its formation, Kids on Campus was called Kaleidoscope, and was offered to learners between the ages of eight and 14, and a separate program known as Adventures in Learning was offered to talented and gifted pupils between the ages of six and 14. Since then, Kids on Campus has expanded to provide access to courses for learners of all grades from pre-school through high school. Students can participate in classes covering subjects such as mathematics, science, writing, arts and engineering.

“Traditionally, the most popular courses are our culinary courses,” said Kids on Campus Program Manager Michele Bialo. “Along with that, our technology courses are always popular for students. Technology and culinary arts are our first to fill, followed by science classes.”

Skills workshops are also available for those in grades six to 12 who want to become more academically involved in mathematics, english, writing, keyboarding and study skills, which are $185 each. Workshops are held Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to noon in the Jeffress Center during the weeks of July 6 and 20.

Preschooler Eva Radke, 4, participated in The Preschool Adventures course last summer while mother Brianne Radke watches.

Preschooler Eva Radke, 4, participated in The Preschool
Adventures course last summer while mother Brianne Radke
watches.

The Kids on Campus program has shown steady growth each year by adding additional courses based on student demand and eliminating unpopular curriculums. Operational elements, which include safety and student transportation, are always reviewed and changed as necessary. For example, a couple of years ago, Kids on Campus adjusted its procedures for student drop-offs and pick-ups to make parents feel more comfortable when they take their children to and from school. As for safety, the organization was recently able to get its students’ parents on the RAVE alert system for improved communication.

Computerized Numerical Control (CNC) instructor Gene Keyes said, “They [his students] enjoy the hands-on portion. When you learn with hands-on, you end up using all of your senses to learn something.”

Learners enrolled in Keyes’ class come in Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The students begin the course by learning how to use CNC to make their own aluminum nameplates. By the end of the course, they use the CNC machines to make peg games. Finally, software called Master Cam is used to convert online images to 3D images and engrave them onto aluminum plates.

Nearly all other classes meet Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and cost less than $250. In many of these other courses, students can participate in creative activities, which include pottery, imagery, robotics, and rocketry.

This year, the Kids on Campus program runs from July 6 to Aug. 7. It is a thrilling program for young students to participate in to develop skills they will use later in life. For more information about the Kids on Campus program, call the Continuing Education and Professional Development Office at 734-462-4448 or email koc@schoolcraft.edu.