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Institute was great for nerds



Published: Fri, August 16, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Willy Wonka truly captured the flavor of the word nerds when he came out with the popular candy that everyone loves.

The candy has mixed flavors for a smooth, sweet taste. "Mixed flavors" definitely fits the description of the true nerds in your school.

You know who I am talking about. They are the group of kids classified as nerds or bookworms, the students who excel in their schoolwork and are talented in many other areas. Their personalities are as mixed as the flavors that Willy Wonka comes up with.

This summer those students gave up going to New York City, Myrtle Beach, Florida or California to spend a week at school for gifted and talented students.

Some people may call it a big nerd convention, but this past July, many of the gifted and talented students in the Youngstown area spent a week at the YSU Summer Honors Institute.

The Honors Institute was a chance for students classified as "gifted and talented" to get together and attend classes for a week to have fun and learn. Although we were required to attend two classes a day that lasted for three hours each, there were many exciting features to each day.

First of all, we got to eat at Arby's every day, we got to meet a lot of new friends and there was no homework, just pure fun!

The best part for me was having fun while learning sign language and acting. The Honors Institute had classes that may not always be offered at school. Everyone got to pick the classes they wanted to take and which of the three weeks they wished to attend.

What we learned

Besides learning new things in our classes, we learned a lot about diversity and teamwork. The Honors Institute showed how many "mixed flavors" one group of students can have.

There were football players, cheerleaders, real bookworms and the kids with green hair and plaid pants.

On the last day, during lunch and most of the afternoon, we all sat down and learned to work as a team, despite our differences.

Our challenge was to build a bridge that would hold a brick. The catch was we could use only a roll of masking tape and newspaper.

Then, we used the idea from the hit TV show "Who's Line Is It Anyway" to come up with creative ways to use common household items. After working together all day, it really showed how our teamwork made a smooth, sweet taste of accomplishment.

Later that day, family and friends were able to see how teamwork was an important part of the week. Each class gave a presentation based on what they had learned. It was a unique experience to see Greek mythology and computer engineering portrayed in the closing program. It was easy to see that the wide ranges of classes were able to accommodate all the variousinterests of the students.

I learned a lot, met new friends and had a good time spending my summer vacation at school. I would like to thank the coordinators and helpers involved in making the YSU Summer Honors Institute a big success.

One day the gifted and talented nerds may become the next successful business owners, just like Willy Wonka.

XAshlee, 16, is a junior at Western Reserve High School, where she is editor of the newspaper and a majorette. She also is the Youth Representative to Council on Ministries at Berlin Center United Methodist Church and a Senior Girl Scout.




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