Summer school closes

Published 9:53 pm Thursday, August 3, 2017

By Ella Bronaugh


Summer school has come to an end at King’s Fork Middle School and Lakeland High School as the regular school year draws closer.

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Faculty and students alike have been working hard this month to prepare themselves for this week, when both the middle school LAUNCH program and the high school summer school program close for the summer.

It hasn’t been easy, but the students and staff of Suffolk Public Schools are excited for their next step and look back on their experiences this summer fondly.

The middle school LAUNCH program is not your typical summer school.

“It’s a program that Suffolk Public Schools started last year with support from United for Children,” LAUNCH administrator Steve Smith said. “It incorporates a combination of instruction, enrichment and opportunity.

“In years past, summer school has been strictly instruction based,” he added. “LAUNCH includes projects, hands-on activities, demonstrations and presentations from business partners and community outreach programs.”

This summer, several local businesses partnered with LAUNCH to organize fun enrichment opportunities for the students attending, such as the build-your-own-robot battle hosted by Engineering For Kids.

The teachers at LAUNCH agreed that a combination of a small group setting and the hands-on enrichment activities provided unique opportunities for the students.

“[The students] are exposed to things they wouldn’t normally have an opportunity to see,” English 7 LAUNCH teacher Tiffany Lewis said. “They can get ideas for career fields they may want to enter, and it puts them in a small-group setting where they’re able to get more help from their teachers.”

At the end of the program, an assembly was gathered to celebrate the highlights of the past month with slide shows and awards, a great way to wrap up a successful summer at LAUNCH.

Meanwhile, the high school summer school program at Lakeland hosted a graduation ceremony on Aug. 2. The day before the ceremonies, excitement radiated from the teachers and students as they geared up for the next day’s events.

“I’m extremely proud of the students graduating from summer school,” said the principal of the program, Tina Paul. “They’ve made sacrifices and worked really hard to achieve their goals. I’ve very proud of them for not giving up. I wish them well with all of their future endeavors.”

The teachers and students agreed that this summer has been a truly intense experience.

“It’s a whirlwind. We have to teach a full year of English 11, and it’s a lot,” summer school teacher Stephanie Mitchell explained. “We don’t have very much time, and every minute is packed. English 11 is an SOL year, and they’re only here for two weeks, so you really have to wonder if they’re prepared. You can definitely see the difference in how much they absorb compared to over the school year.”

The students have toiled this summer to get to where they are now. Quantasia Lassiter used the summer school program to graduate early and will attend Paul D. Camp Community College this fall.

“Summer school gives you the opportunity to better yourself and to get ahead,” she said.

Destinee Bell, who completed the English 10 course this summer, was in agreement.

“I failed the course the first time. It’s given me a chance to better myself and has helped me grow up because of the fast pace. It’s also helped me with my concentration.”