GLEN JEAN, W.Va (WOAY) – Two years ago, 6th graders at Beckley-Stratton Middle School were part of the pilot program for West Virginia University’s first Science Adventure Camp at the Summit Bechtel Reserve. This year, the middle school sent a bigger group of 6th graders along with some from the original group to help mentor as the camp expands across the region.
The cafeteria in Beckley-Stratton Middle School was buzzing Tuesday morning, full of 66 6th graders, 12 8th grade mentors and around 11 faculty members all ready to take on the Summit Bechtel Reserve.
For the rest of the week, they will be participating in all the activities the Summit offers as well as learning all core subjects while camping out there.
“Before we actually do any of the big activities or anything like that, before we do that, we’re going to learn the science behind how and why that happens,” Ashton Hawkins, a 6th grader, said.
Once the students arrived at the Summit Bechtel Reserve, they were greeted by their leaders from around the country who are working for the university to put this camp on.
“Of course we’re starting small, right? Just in Nicholas, Fayette and Raleigh County. However, we hope to go statewide and then from there we’ll have to talk about our goals later but our hope is to build a program that can be replicated in other areas,” Adventure School Director Ali Jeney said.
The students at Beckley-Stratton will be able to say they were the first to do it. And the teachers are excited to introduce this type of learning to their students, to the rest of the state and beyond.
“If we can be a part of anything to be a part of education and changing education for the better for the students, we’re all about it,” 6th grade math teacher Angela Houck said.
“And the whole program just opens the door to a new way to learn,” another 6th grade teacher, Valerie Bostick, added “I mean, you’re not just sitting at a desk. You’re not sitting on technology the whole time. You’re out experiencing what you are actually learning.”
This camp is completely free for students, and next week Beckley-Stratton will be sending another group of 6th graders. The staff from West Virginia University will be staying until the end of October for the various schools throughout Fayette, Raleigh and Nicholas Counties who will be attending camp.