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SAIL Project Showcase Wows Campers and Parents

Belton ISD parent Kathryn Lopez experienced the unexpected when she came upon her seven-year-old daughter Asteria holding a ball python at the Summer Adventures in Learning (SAIL) camp project showcase at Southwest Elementary.

Summer Adventures In Learning

“I’m thinking she’s a lot braver than me,” Lopez said. “I’m glad she’s getting educated on the snake and other creatures.”

The snake belongs to Leon Heights Elementary teacher Susan Vail and is just one of her class pets that she uses for lessons.

“Holding that snake was terrifying,” said eleven-year old SAIL camper Aaron Peters. “I’ve never held a snake before!”

Campers expanded their knowledge about the animal kingdom in other unique ways.

Summer Adventures In Learning

“My favorite was my shark, she’s pretty,” said five-year-old Luisana Noguera, holding up her handmade sock puppet shark named Anna. “It’s funny, I’ve never heard of one like this before.”

“We really want to provide a program with experiences for kids that maybe they won’t have outside their homes,” said SAIL summer school administrator and Tarver Elementary Assistant Principal Lexie Newberry about the three-week camp. “We wanted to have art, and music, and gymnastics incorporated into their summer experiences. There’s a lot of testing during the school year, so this is a fun and enjoyable way that they can get their hands dirty and not worry about deadlines and assessments.”

Students from Miller Heights and Southwest Elementary attend the camp, along with a selection of campers from other Belton ISD elementary schools, and participate in a variety of lessons taught from teachers across the district.

Summer Adventures In Learning

“I think the kids really enjoyed it,” said Southwest Reading Interventionist Lindsey Fulton about her first year participating in SAIL. “The mornings have gone by so fast, I felt that I wanted more time with my groups. We did reader’s theatre, so the kids had the challenge of creating their own props from folk tales like ‘Goldilocks’ and ‘Little Red Riding Hood’. It was a great time to collaborate with those kids and challenge them on a different level.”

For Jiyoung Namkung, she appreciates the opportunities her first-grade son Alex is having to learn a second language. “His English is not so good now, but I think he’s getting better at learning the language. The camp is great for that. He’s really enjoyed making new friends.

Twelve-year-old Johnathon Lichnovsky discovered that befriending others has been his favorite part of SAIL.

“I’ve actually loved it here,” he said. “I’ve made a whole bunch of new friends. I thought I was going to be perfectly fine for the summer just going to play, but I had to come here. And it’s actually like been better than just playing. I get to make more friends.”

Newberry says experiencing a unique curriculum while hanging out with new friends and teachers is exactly the goal of the SAIL camp.

Joshua Wucher
June 21, 2019