article submitted by Susan Miller, JAGC President
For some people it was lazy Monday morning in late July. For others it's the first day of SPARKS, a GT summer camp for gifted students in first grade through eighth grade located at Kendrick Lakes Elementary School in Jefferson County. The camp ran from July 18 through July 29th, 2011.
The first day of camp was hectic for both teachers and students. New surroundings, new teachers, and many new faces made up the colorful fabric of the SPARKS camp. SPARKS began with the promise of yet more exciting days to come before the end of the two week camp. Camp classes were laid back with a welcoming environment for a group of children who need less structure and more options in their day. Each class included a mix of ages, all with a common interest. The students and parents were presented with a wide range of classes that may be of interest a child, spanning from "creative movement" to "gross science", and "CSI". SPARKS also provided an option to attend half day sessions, allowing for a morning or afternoon class. The organizers at SPARKS wanted this camp to be as optimal for the gifted learner as possible, fully equipped to encourage a love for learning. For example, the "Gross Science" class had a blast making "Oobleck" and shrunken heads (it's OK, the heads were made from apples, pushpins, and rice). In the art classes they made sculptures that were uniquely painted by each of the students. Those interested in furthering their love of math were afforded that opportunity through "Math Links." The new SPARKS camp was attended by 166 students. This was a great beginning and SPARKS believes next year will be even more successful.
Thank you to the GT Staff of Jefferson County who made this camp viable, the teachers from Jeffco, Cherry Creek and Douglas County who worked to make these classes so inspiring, and to Kendrick Lakes Elementary School and its principal, Barbara Gunther, for providing the facility for SPARKS. And a special thank you to the PEAK GT Center high school students who assisted the staff at SPARKS.
Thanks to Ruth Rodgers for the great SPARKS photos!