Heath Springs center wraps up two-week program

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By Jesef Williams

HEATH SPRINGS – Two girls probed the contents of small particles under a microscope while another quietly read "The Drinking Gourd" by F.N. Mojo.

In another room, several children focused on various computer games that help with math and English.

The Heath Springs Community Center served as a haven for mentorship and enlightenment for area children. It housed a two-week summer program that gave school-aged youth something do for part of their summer vacation.

Program organizer William Murphy said the aim was to work on individual students' weaknesses in a fun, informal atmosphere.

"The idea is to increase their knowledge and for them to make better grades in school – to supplement their learning," Murphy said.

Shaqwala Miller, a fourth-grader at Heath Springs Elementary School, enjoyed being able to take objects she found outside and put them under the microscope. She said science is her favorite subject.

"I like to learn about different types of fossils and where they come from," Miller said. "I love science."

About 20 students participated in the program.

Although it was designed for children ages 6 to 18, there were still some younger ones – like 4-year-old Ezaria Jackson – who were allowed to attend.

She spent some of her time learning numbers and drawing shapes.

Avalon Truesdale, 13, said the program was fun and it helped him sharpen up on math. He received some tutoring on percentages and multiplying fractions.

As he confidently completed a fraction problem, it seemed as if the summer program had helped him reach that goal.

"That's what I needed help on," Truesdale said. "I feel better about math."

Other activities included board games such as Life and checkers. The students also participated in interactive demonstrations that stressed facts about the solar system.

Murphy said organizers hope the program can run at least one afternoon per week during the school year. This was the second summer the program was held.

Contact reporter Jesef Williams at jwilliams@thelancasternews.com or at (803) 283-1152