By Denise Dick
School is out all over the Mahoning Valley, but 105 middle-school students are spending part of their summer back in the classroom.
They’re part of Mahoning County Career and Technical Center’s Career Camp, which started Wednesday and runs through today. The sixth- through eighth-graders are in classes in auto collision, forensic science, medical occupations, exercise science, early childhood, culinary or engineering.
This marks the camp’s fifth year.
“This year we had to turn people away,” said Jackie Kuffel, career development supervisor. “It grows every year.”
The students pay $25 for the three-day camp, which runs from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day. The cost includes breakfast and lunch. All the instructors are MCCTC staff.
Bryce Evans, 14, a freshman at Poland Seminary High School, and John Donges, 13, an eighth-grader at Western Reserve Middle School, are enrolled in the auto-collision course taught by Joe Sanders.
On Thursday they were mixing paint to create a snakeskin metallic green color that they would apply to pieces of sheet metal they primed and sanded.
Bryce said he signed up for the class because he and his father recently were involved in a car crash, and he wanted to see what’s involved in the repair.
John works on cars with his father, and he wanted to learn more about it.
Robyn Mowrey, 14, an eighth-grader at Austintown Middle School, signed up for the culinary camp because she wanted to learn to cook.
“My mom and my nana both work in restaurants, and I wanted to cook, too,” she said. “I thought it would be fun.” She hasn’t been disappointed.
Marlie McConnell, 12, a seventh-grader at Poland Middle School, agrees.
“I really like cooking,” she said. “My grandma is teaching me to cook. We cook a lot of desserts — cupcakes and stuff.”
The students made apple crisp Wednesday morning and toaster pastries, and pirogies were on the menu for the remainder of camp.
Aleia Gonzalez, 13, an eighth-grader at Campbell Middle School, said she had never learned how to cook before so she signed up for the camp.
“I love it,” she said.
Julianna Stanley, 11, of Newton Falls who is home-schooled, signed up for culinary camp because she enjoyed her experience with Young Chefs, an international cooking program for young people.
“I love cooking,” she said.
The “CSI: Crime Science Investigation” television show theme song played in the background of the forensic science camp taught by Nate Wilson. Students were learning about fingerprints.
Grant McConnell, 13, an eighth-grader at Poland Middle School, is enjoying the class.
“I’m always interested in crime scenes,” he said.