The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

July 20, 2013

College for Kids’ students explore a variety of topics


DANVILLE — College for Kids at Danville Area Community College first began in 1980, and was designed to provide educational opportunities for children during the summer, to learn about life on a college campus.

“The kids will know all the buildings when they leave here, and call all of the buildings by name. They really get the on-campus experience,” said Laura Hensgen, coordinator of Community Education at DACC, where College for Kids is taught.

The program has around 97 kids enrolled this year, which is a bit lower than what they have had in past years, but is still considered a good turn-out.

There are two sessions of the program, one was June 10-14, and the other was this week, July 15-19. All classes are $45 each or there is a week-long option for $135 with hot lunch included.

With the week-long program, the thirdthrough eighth-graders are dropped off by 8:30 a.m. and are on campus until 3 p.m. These students attend three different classes of their choice, and have a lunch break at the student union in between.

“All students are escorted to and from classes by teachers and assistants throughout the day, and all are taken to the Bremer Center at the end of the day where they are picked up and checked off the list,” Hensgen said.

The same teachers are with the same kids all week, and, according to Hensgen, it makes it nice for the kids to see the same faces all week long.

“We have a great crew of teachers; they are either certified, or they are working toward getting their certification,” said Hensgen.

Mallory Buss, a teacher for College for Kids is teaching for her fifth year with this program.

“This is a great week. When the kids are excited to be here, it makes the experience so much better,” she said.

Buss teaches KCSIKids’ Crime Scene Investigation, a class that lets the students analyze crime scenes and allows them to figure out “who did it.” The students collect evidence, such as blood splatter, hair and fingerprints.

“We then go to the Mary Miller lab and test substances to figure out what it is. We then bring in suspects to find out who did the crime,” Buss said.

Along with KCSI, Buss teaches Brain Tease, a class that challenges the students’ minds using logic and problem-solving skills.

There are about 35 other classes, ranging from art classes to engineering, to Legos, to world foods.

There is one class called Caine’s Arcade, a class based on the YouTube boy who created and designed his own arcade out of cardboard boxes. The students in this class are able to create and build objects out of the boxes. They have made robots and rockets, just to name a few.

Gaven Lund, a soon-to-be sixth grader at Potomac Middle School, is enjoying the class.

“It’s pretty cool building stuff out of cardboard. My cousin was going to take this class, and I thought I’d try it to,” he said.

Lund also is enrolled in the World Foods and Culture class, and the Legos class.

In the World Foods and Culture class, students get to try a variety of foods, and also learn about world languages and cultures.

In the Lego Robotics class, students build and control fully-functional life-like robots using Legos. They are able to create a moveable Lego object and can race each other.

The popular classes have multiple sessions throughout the day, and certain classes are for certain ages. There are many of the same classes from past years, but Hensgen is always trying to make a few new classes to put in their schedule.

This year’s College for Kids is well into its program, but next year the dates will be June 9-13, and July 14-18.

“College for Kids is a great program and will hopefully continue for years to come,” Buss said.

For information, contact the community education department, (217)-554-1667 or (217)-554-1668.