School is out for the summer, but QUEST teacher Jerry Snider hasn't found the time to sleep late. In fact, he hasn't found time to sleep much at all. Dr. Snider organized and oversaw a week-long camp for gifted students called Project S.T.R.I.D.E. - Summer Talent Recognition Identification and Development in Education.
"We don't have these types of opportunities in rural areas, so this is good to have," Dr. Snider said. "But it's been a lot of work. I haven't slept over a couple of hours all week."
Sixty-seven fourth through seventh grade students came from McDuffie, Warren, Glascock, Lincoln, Columbia and Richmond counties to the camp held at Thomson Middle School. Dr. Snider said 30 percent of the students were from McDuffie County. Glascock County provided a bus to transport its 10 students, which cut into their sleeping-in time, also. But at least one student didn't mind the loss.
"She gets up in the morning at six o'clock and she's ready to go," Olecia Hilson said of her daughter, Mycala, 8. "That says a lot because she's a late sleeper."
The teachers also came from area counties and ranged in expertise from grades kindergarten through 12. Dr. Snider said they had been part of a certification class for teachers of the gifted that he taught through out the year with the Regional Educational Service Agency. Teaching at the camp provided them the opportunity to apply what they had learned and was the final process of completing the course. The camp was also sponsored By RESA.
Exciting topics stimulated the students intellectually and left no chance for them to catch some ZZZ's during class. In "kitchen chemistry," the students created edible experiments to discover how soft drinks are made, what makes lemonade sour and how to make gumdrops.
In "take me out to the ballgame," the students were on the ball field combining baseball and math, while "brainercise" combined athletics and team cooperation with logic puzzles.
Sherlock Holmes wanna-be's investigated what makes a Monarch unique in "if you plant it, they will come," which was held in a butterfly garden. Other investigators used forensics to solve the case of the barefoot burglar in "C.S.I. who dunnit?"
"If I could take a class, (C.S.I.) would be it," said Cheronda Harris, a teacher from Richmond County's Murphy Middle School. "If I wasn't teaching, I wish I could be in there."
Rather than collecting fingerprints, Ms. Harris was busy giving musical students "a taste of all aspects of the theater," as they created a stage set and operated the sound system, lights and curtains for a production of S.T.R.I.D.E. School Musical at the end of camp.
"My favorite was the musical because we got to show our talent and express ourselves the way we wanted to," said Melody Samuels, 11.
Pirate lingo, hidden treasure and ship flags created excitement in the "all hands on deck" class. Nicholas Schiffner, 9, said the class included a scavenger hunt which was "tricky with a lot of reading and pacing that actually went through a graveyard." Nicholas was most impressed to learn that pirates were not fictional characters.
Another student said she was surprised that the pirate class, along with all the other classes, took a turn from the traditional school setting By allowing them to be active in class By marching, stomping and yelling. And the end came too soon.
"Even though I'm too old to come next year, I wish I could come again," said Ty Cummings, 12.