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Camp enhances learning

Kalerya Powell, Queen Wells and Renai Wells conduct a science expirament during Carver Science and Math Camp on the campus of Concordia College. -- Desiree Taylor

Students from all over the Black Belt got the chance to create chemical experiments, terminate network cables for TV and phone outlets and create cities at Monday’s Carver Science and Math Camp held at Concordia College.

Sponsored by Concordia and the University of Alabama-Birmingham, the free, two-week camp gave 33 students the opportunity to tackle core subjects with hands-on projects.

Jeremy Harrison, a junior at Jacksonville State University and helper for the camp, said the camp gives students the opportunity to show others it’s okay to be smart.

“You don’t have to be ignorant,” Harrison said. “It’s giving kids a good opportunity to get away from the homework environment, and it gives them hands-on experience to retain information.”

Concordia business teacher and camp instructor Mal Harrison worked with middle school students and taught them how to terminate cables and work with computer hard drives.

“They need to know where technology is going and what they need to survive in the world,” Harrison said. “These children come from rural areas and some have not been exposed. The exposure creates a desire to learn even more. These are some bright young ladies and men. They can comprehend what others dismiss.”

Deondric Montgomery, a ninth grader at Greene County High School, said his mother encouraged him to attend the camp to help improve his grades.

“I just got out of Upward Bound at Stillman (College),” Montgomery said. “I struggle with math and science, and the camp has helped me a lot.”

Contracted math teacher for AMSTI Deborah Goodwin taught both male and female students. Her students developed their own models of city landscapes. She said she was pleased there was a program available.

“They get to see math in action,” Goodwin said. “You get to know students and let them interact with what they’re confident in. You learn strengths, and that will strengthen the areas they’re weak in. Many times (students) don’t get to see math in action because a lot of times there’s a gap in the learning process. This helps them conceptualize.”

Summer camp director in Birmingham and teacher for UAB’s Center for Community Outreach Development Melissa Chase, introduced her students to chemical elements such as acids, bases and the pH scale. Chase believes exposing children to science early helps them to be successful.

“Why not have (them) engaged earlier on to solidify the interest, to try to have an impact at earlier stage of development?” Chase said. “Let’s show them science is meaningful, relevant and fun. We hope to pull them in, get them engaged and keep them engaged through secondary and post secondary (education). Hopefully they’ll want to study science or work in the health field.”

The camp will end on July 23.