Kids find summer fun at Youth Development

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Inside the boxing ring at the Selma Youth Development Center, two young boys prepared for a short fight. At the sound of the buzzer, they began sparring under the watchful eye of the referee and cheers of encouragement from the audience.

In a flash the fight was over and they boys stood proudly among their parents and siblings, having displayed the techniques they learned during the center’s five-week summer program.

July 20 was the final day of the program, and parents were invited to a special open house to meet with the teachers and watch presentations were children showed off what they learned.

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In the boxing class, instructors Napoleon and Chassity Cleveland explained to parents how the boys learned about the intricacies of the sport.

Next was the dance department, where beginner and junior dance students held a mini-recital that incorporated ballet, hip-hop and African dance.

Parents and students also browsed through the works of art on display in the art department and attended poetry readings and a musical performance in the music department.

In the radio production department, LaKendra Cleveland did a mock radio public service announcement, and Taylor Pryor played the part of an anchorwoman for a mock Channel 8 News broadcast.

In her mock broadcast, 10-year-old Pryor said her favorite part about the summer was being the radio production class.

Instructor Terrance Chestnut, radio personality on WBLZ 105.3 FM, said he taught the students how to write scripts for radio and television, how to speak during a broadcast, and gave them weekly tours of the WBLZ station to experience radio operation.

“I probably learned just as much from this class as the students have,” Chestnut said. “It was my first time teaching and it was a great experience.”

Chestnut said in his class, participants were given a weekly quiz. As the summer program went on, the questions became tougher to answer.

The students who made the highest overall score in the class will co-host the Jazz Caf radio program with Chestnut.

Chestnut said the winners in his teenage class were sisters Tennecia and Valeria Dailey, and Taylor Pryor from the 10- and 11-year-old class.

“This class filled up really quick,” Chestnut said. “Just about everybody wanted to be in it.”

The parents seemed impressed with what they saw, and all the children in the Selma Youth Development Summer Program said they enjoyed the experience and would love to do it again next summer.