The Liberty County School System is sponsoring its second annual Career and Technology Camp this week at the Liberty College and Career Academy.
Sixth- and seventh-graders from across the district signed up for four half-days of instruction and hands-on learning in one of 11 programs offered — aircraft support, animation creation, construction, culinary arts, engineering, graphic design, iMovie making, manufacturing, medicine, teaching and welding.
In keeping with the career academy’s mission of providing Liberty County students with career pathways and technical skills, the Career and Technology Camp looks to engage middle-school-aged children by introducing them to technical-skill and technology-based trades.
“It’s just all a part of building our image up, and also making sure kids know that there’s really cool stuff in Liberty County besides just algebra and biology,” LCCA CEO Tom Alexander said.
While nine of the camp’s programs are based on career classes offered at LCCA, two programs — iMovie making and animation creation — are unique to the summer camp.
Derrick Spencer, a rising seventh-grader at Lewis Frasier Middle School, learned about stop-motion animation in the animation-creation program.
“I wanted to do the cooking program, but my mom signed me up for this,” Spencer said as he rolled out clay for his clay-mation project. “But this is fun, too.”
LCCA teacher Michael Goodson gave students an introduction to the world of engineering using one of the oldest construction toys around — Legos.
Campers came to the front of the classroom in teams of three to observe an already-constructed Lego bridge. The students were allowed to sketch out rough drawings before going back to their tables to reconstruct the bridge using only their notes and their memories.
“The sketching is a vital part of product and process design,” Goodson instructed the campers.
Rising Midway Middle School eighth-grader Alexandria White enjoyed learning the basics of engineering.
“[Engineers] design solutions,” she keenly observed.
Though only in its second year, the Career and Technology Camp has already increased both in size and scope from last year’s inaugural effort.
According to Alexander, 133 students enrolled for this year’s camp, up from last year’s 75. The iMovie-making and animation-creation programs also were added this year, thanks to the efforts of Portia Evans, one of the district’s instructional technology specialists.
Evans said that it was only natural to incorporate iPad-based programs into the career camp, since the Galaxy Initiative has been so successful among students.
“Many of [the students] were pretty savvy with iMovie, so I wanted to take it a step further with animation as an extension of what they already knew,” Evans explained.
Evans also said that the projects students create at this week’s camp can be entered into the media festival in the fall.
Though only 15 seats were available per program this year, Evans said she is hopeful that the Career and Technology Camp will continue to grow in coming years.
“We had to turn a few away this year,” she said. “We’re looking to do it again and add additional classes next year.”
The camp runs from 8-11:30 a.m. through Thursday.