Not your typical summer school: Waterville for providing fun, social and academic activities

Matt Gilley sat inside his 1972 Chrysler Newport outside Waterville High School last week. Gilley will teach students how to swap parts on the classic car and, if the time is right, replace the interior as part of the extensive summer school program offered this year by Waterville Public Schools. Michael G. Seamans / Morning Sentry

WATERVILLE – You might not think classic car restoration would be offered as a summer course, but that’s exactly what instructor Matt Gilley will be teaching as part of the Waterville Public Schools Summer Program soon. .

The students will help Gilley dismantle the front end of his 1972 Chrysler Newport, exchange parts and, if the time is right, remove the interior of the car and replace it as well.

“Whatever the weather allows us, we’ll linger on it and start doing it,” Gilley said Thursday.

It was a project that Gilley, an instructor with Jobs for Maine’s Graduates (JMG), had planned to do this summer anyway, so he offered it as a summer course for students. Some students at the Mid-Maine Tech Center are already familiar with the car, having redone the suspension and brakes and installed a new radiator as part of a program at the school.

“I know there are kids out there who are interested in doing this, especially since the afternoon summer program is also open to Messalonskee students,” Gilley said. “I just thought it would be a good choice.”

Gilley’s Classic Car Restoration Course is just one of many fun activities the school system offers as part of its summer program, aimed at meeting the socio-emotional needs of students who do not have been satisfied during the coronavirus pandemic. Cooking, building miniature rockets, dealing with crime scenes, photography, summer camp and many other courses are also on the program, in addition to academic courses, such as those focusing on math and reading.

Superintendent of Schools Eric Haley is encouraging students to enroll in the program, which is possible thanks to federal COVID-19 assistance the school system has received.

Enrollment is lighter than educators had hoped, likely because students tend to view summer school as a place to go if they fail a class or have to retake classes, according to Haley. The summer course schedule and course descriptions are available at the school system website.

“It’s not that at all,” he said. “I can’t believe what skills some of my teachers have that I had no idea they cared about. “

Gilley is also teaming up with high school orchestra teacher Sue Barre to deliver a modern rock band class in which students will play instruments, choose a song, and perform it for the audience on the last day of class, at the new outdoor bandstand outside the technical center. Gilley is a guitarist.

“I’m pretty excited about this,” he said, “and a group of students I have in class who share this interest are also very excited.”

According to Principal Brian Laramee, students in grades 9 to 12 at Waterville Senior High School are offered enrichment and remedial programs Monday through Thursday during the weeks of July 12, 19 and 26. The morning program is called Waterville PEP, or Panther Enrichment Project. All programs are free, with food and transportation also provided free of charge to students.

The overall program is designed to elicit creativity and exposing students to programs or activities to which they would not otherwise be exposed in normal classrooms, Laramee wrote in a letter to families. The hope is that the program will help students reconnect with their peers and school staff.

“Waterville PEP is a far cry from the traditional summer school, ”Laramee wrote. “In fact, as you can see from the many sessions offered, many sessions take place outside of the classroom. “

Classes offered July 12-15 include those related to robot building, creative writing, credit scavenging, crime scene handling, electrical controls, fitness, percussion instruments, math in games, history of Waterville, homemade pasta making, money matters, reading skills, precision instruments and tricks, art and board games.

Classes July 19-22 include a Beginner’s Group, Cooking from around the World, Creative Writing, Credit Giving, Electrical Controls, Fitness, GoPro Movie Making, Photography and Photoshop, Computer Skills reading, art and more.

From July 26 to 30, classes include Beginner Group, Creative Writing, Credit Giving, Fitness, GoPro Movie Making, Waterville History, Math in Games, Healthy Oceans, L art and miniature rockets.

An overnight one-week River Rats adventure camp is also offered.

Administrators from Laramee, Haley and Regional School Unit 18 work on afternoon programs with Tom Edwards and Ed Cervone of Thomas College; Craig Larrabee, CEO of Jobs for Maine’s Graduates; Ken Walsh, CEO of Alfond Youth & Community Center; Patrick Guerette, Deputy Director General of the Center Alfond; and others, according to Laramée.

The afternoon offerings are the result of an effort to provide after-school opportunities for students in grades 6 to 12. Programs include free lifeguard certification, training counselor, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and childcare, all aimed at providing students with employable skills.

Students who complete the courses will be eligible for paid work. The Alfond Center will offer intramural activities, free access to its fitness center and many other activities. Thomas College offers free college classes, access to esports tournaments and career fairs, and JMG plans a variety of activities in Waterville and Oakland and surrounding areas.

Special education sessions for high schools and colleges are scheduled for July 12-15, July 19-22, and July 26-29, with programs focused on academic and functional skills, using activities practice. Weekly swimming activities are part of the program. Activities at Pine Tree Camp in Rome are available for all grade levels.

Title I students are offered learning camps on Tuesdays and Thursdays for six weeks, starting June 22. Reading, writing and math through integrated and hands-on learning will be part of the afternoon academic and enrichment sessions at Tracy Day Camp or the Alfond Center will be offered.

Registration for the program is full, so no additional students can be accepted, according to the organizers. Students will participate in classes focusing on story telling, language, math, detective learning, gardening, photography, space exploration, art, and history. Students can also do activities at Tracy Day Camp and participate in an enrichment program at Center Alfond.

Students in junior high – grades six through eight – are scheduled to meet Monday through Thursday for four weeks, July 5 through the week of July 28. They will have the opportunity to explore nature, use several interior resources, hike and do other adventures. -related activities.


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Joel C. Hicks