Probably all little kids have thought about how fun it would be to hide out at school after the lights are turned off, the doors locked.
How much fun would school be then?
To be able to touch the fancy equipment? Play with the art stuff? Run in the halls?
It was this very kind of excited energy pulsating through the halls at last week’s Black & Gold Academy at Boyle County High School that made the learning going on there look like anything other than “schooling.”
Assistant Superintendent David Young is plugged into that energy and likely brought some of it with him two years ago from his position as principal of Junction City Elementary School.
Kids call out to him as he walks the halls, and he seems to know the names of them all. It becomes clear that he is not a back-office administrator but rather part of the program he has helped put together.
“This is our first year. We — several of us — started planning probably eight months ago, and it has been pretty much all of us,” he said. “Leadership, central office, administration, principals, teachers. We had a lot of input from parents who are looking for more enrichment programs for their kids.”
Young said the “hands-on” intensive learning is heavy on science and technology but also offers kids in grades K-8 a chance to dabble in the arts — possibly in the same day.
More than 30 classes were offered. Any child was welcome, Young said, but the classes filled up fast with Boyle County kids, including those bused in from Junction City and Perryville. Each child had morning and afternoon programs.
The program was free to the students. Thanks to a federal program that covered those costs, even the included breakfast and lunch was free. Some teachers received a stipend, but many classes were taught by volunteers.
“We may have to consider expanding to add a week next year,” Young said.
The initial course ideas were floated months ago and, while good, Young was astounded by the ideas that ended up on the curriculum.
“These are the kinds of things they have always wanted to teach so it is putting the fun back into teaching for teachers, too,” he said.
One of the offerings may well find its way into the class schedule at Bluegrass Community and Technical College in the fall — especially after the eighth- and ninth-graders who participated take their class projects to the streets.
It was hard to tell who had more fun at the only off-site class on the list, “Kids that Rip!”
Was it the student who had to literally be pushed out of the building on the first day of class or the instructors, Mark Welch and Russell Chaney who volunteered to teach about a dozen boys and girls how to design and build skateboards, using the top-grade machines at BCTC?
Tables were lined with hardware such as “trucks” and wheels and layered, curved template boards in which each student drilled holes to attach the hardware. The student then shaped the boards and sanded the edges smooth before applying signature colors all along the edge.
“There really is no precise plan in place,” Chaney said.
“We are just doing this as it comes, on the fly,” Welch said.
Non-skid for the top is normally laid like formica on a kitchen floor. Here, not so much.