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College For Kids to turn 30

Barry McNamara
03/24/2010
For many, the 30th birthday is a milestone to be dreaded, but that’s not the case with the College For Kids program at Monmouth College. The popular student enrichment program will mark its third decade this summer, and director Kathy Mainz couldn’t be more proud.

To celebrate, Mainz is planning a birthday bash on the final day of the program, which is scheduled for June 14-25. Alumni from the program are invited to attend, and several of those former CFK students eventually studied at Monmouth College.

“It was so exciting to feel like a college student,” recalls Karen Creek Brown, a 1997 MC graduate who attended College For Kids in the 1980s. “I took a French course. Besides learning the language, we also had the opportunity to fence. That was the most fun I had ever had.”

Lisa Bitar Wolfe ’94 also has fond memories.

“My favorite class was ‘Culture of India,’ which was taught Jo Sorenson. She was fantastic. We had such a great time and really learned a lot about the Indian culture. The highlight was the Indian meal that we shared on the last day.”

New memories are waiting to be created at this year’s College For Kids, which is open to second- through eighth-grade students. Tuition is $145, and registrations are being accepted through April 16.

“We have 58 courses this year, which is our largest catalog ever,” said Mainz, who noted that five languages will be offered, as well as seven math courses. “There are 12 fine arts offerings covering everything from clowning to sculpture, and nine science classes that highlight fossils, endangered animals, outer space and really scary big bugs.”

In social studies, students can explore ancient Egypt, the American Revolution and Native Americans and learn how to write Chinese calligraphy in ‘Amazing Asia.’

College For Kids participants each take three classes, which begin at 9, 10 and 11 a.m. Students move on their own from building to building and classroom to classroom. In lieu of final exams, the last day of class is reserved for project-ending activities. The educational staff includes 31 teachers from four local school districts, as well as members of Monmouth College’s faculty.

Prospective students need to meet ONE of the following criteria: be currently enrolled in a gifted/talented or enrichment program; have scored at 85th percentile or better on standardized tests; have scored at least 115 on cognitive abilities test; submitted a portfolio of fine arts works for assessment; or been enrolled in CFK in a previous year. Additionally, said Mainz, a student will be accepted if a parent or teacher fills out a gifted characteristics matrix and the student receives a sufficient score.

For more information about College For Kids or for alumni who are interested in attending the 30th birthday celebration, contact Mainz by e-mail at kmainz@monm.edu or by phone at 309-457-2361. Mainz, who also serves as the college’s science lab manager, has nearly 20 years’ experience working with gifted/talented students, and has directed CFK or similar programs for the past decade.