Summer vacation brings new round of schooling

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 23, 2005

For the past nine months, Justice Phillips toiled away at Elephant’s Fork Elementary School, learning math, science, social studies and the like.

So after summer vacation kicked off last week, the 10-year-old did what any worn-out learner would do.

He went right back into school.

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&uot;This is a good program,&uot; Justice said Tuesday during a break in the Summer Enrichment Program at Booker T. Washington (BTW) Elementary. Held by the Zeta Epsilon Omega chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, the program is in its 24th year of giving local students a little extra help in the school off-season.

&uot;I’ve learned a lot of skills,&uot; said Justice, a three-year veteran of the program, which goes from 9 a.m. to noon on weekdays until early July. &uot;I read a lot more. This is good if people want to read and learn new words.&uot;

It’s not just good for the students, said instructor Victoria Kendale.

&uot;Not only do I enjoy teaching kids,&uot; said Kendale, who retired from John Yeates Middle, &uot;but I get a lot from them as well. They teach me to be a better teacher and a better person. They teach me to say, ‘I can’t do it. I need help.’ Kids always give you the blatant truth.&uot;

That’s something that local chapter president Dorothy Diggs enjoys hearing.

&uot;The kids seem to love (the program),&uot; she said. &uot;They get really excited about it, and the parents get excited too. We’ve got more students this year than we’ve had in the past two or three years.&uot;

Roughly 50 students take part in the program, which is being held for the third time at BTW.

&uot;One of our goals is to give service to the community,&uot; coordinator Martha Harris said, &uot;and we’re trying to help our students have fun and improve the skills they’ve learned in school.&uot;

It’s working for Mack Benn student LaNeisha Gainey.

&uot;They do some of the same skills we learned in school, like looking up definitions of words we don’t know,&uot; said the 11-year-old. &uot;They make it fun, because they know we already know some of it.&uot;