A summer of enrichment

At the Assistance League's summer school, the emphasis is on fun and learning.

July 27, 2011|By Stephanie Ghiya
(Tim Berger )

Recipe packets line Paradise Canyon Elementary’s cafeteria counter and ingredients for almond cookies are prepped. Summer school students are coloring flags for display in Jamie Sennett’s Cooking Around the World class.

Students across campus wrapped up this fifth and final week of summer enrichment classes by rehearsing for performances and touching up art projects for exhibition today and tomorrow.

The Assistance League of Flintridge, a philanthropic non-profit organization, has administered the summer school programs in La Cañada to students entering grades 1-8 since 1978, when voter approval of Proposition 13 left La Cañada Unified School District without funds for summer school.

For $150, students can choose up to three classes, including cartooning, jump rope, historical architecture, band and musical theater for grades one through six; and ceramics, public speaking and tennis for grades seven and eight.

“Summer school has gone very well,” said Barbara Mello, co-chair of the league’s summer school program. “We’ve had an opportunity to send 660 kids through a wonderful enrichment program. It’s varied with music, drama, sports, academics, but always with the intent of having learning be fun and kids enjoying their summer.”


On the stage of the auditorium Tuesday morning, jump-rope students practiced tricks for the upcoming performance for parents. Across the blacktop playground and tucked away in an air-conditioned portable classroom, John Tegmeyer’s intermediate band students counted through a series of tricky measures of music.

“When I was a kid and summer came around, it was like, ‘Hey, let’s go crazy,’” said Tegmeyer. “But they’re such great kids. They’re here, they really want to be here and I think, for them, being able to see their progress exponentially over the course of one month from ‘We’re OK,’ to ‘Wow, we’re really good,’ is a really motivating factor.”

While Tegmeyer’s students continued rehearsing “Troubadour” from Giuseppe Verdi’s opera “Carmen,” student Asher Follett read her story of a bear mauling to the ‘Here’s the Scoop’ classroom. During the summer session, Scoop students became campus reporters — planning stories, conducting interviews and writing features.

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