Camp ends with Super Smart performance


Published: Wednesday, July 2, 2014 at 4:20 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, July 2, 2014 at 4:20 p.m.

To their parents' delight, 43 children and teens who attended the Super Smart Summer Camp 2014 Music and Dance Recital & Academic Fair delivered top-notch performances that included singing, dancing, playing musical selections on violin, recorder and piano, and performing creative dance movements with math raps, sign language, art, black history and science experiments in the mix.

Attended by more than 200 people, the recital ended the three-week Super Smart Camp and showcased what campers ages 6-17 had learned. It was held last Thursday at the Thomas Center.

The camp ended Friday with two plays: "Jungle Book" featuring children and "Pop Star" featuring teens. The camp was sponsored by the Star Center Children's Theatre, along with a $2,500 grant from Plum Creek, $2,500 in in-kind donations from Digital World at the University of Florida and $4,000 from corporate sponsor Saul Rentz for building enhancements.

Rhonda Wilson, artistic director and drama instructor for the camp, was pleased with the turnout and the children's performances. She told the parents, "It (camp) gets better each year and it's because you (parents) let us have your children for three weeks. We couldn't do it without you."

The campers were confident and impressive as they performed individually and in groups.

They played the piano, the recorder, and the violin, sang the Greek alphabet, did sign language, danced hip hop, performed creative dance movements, rapped math concepts and discussed their science experiments involving plants.

The camp's curriculum included STEAM, or Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math, which consists of infusing the arts into academics. And at the recital, campers showed what they learned about pollution, conservation, plant cycles, African American history, endangered species and other issues.

They created digital images shown via a PowerPoint presentation.

Angela Terrell, a member of the Star Children's Theatre Advisory Council and the violin, piano and recorder teacher of the camp, was very pleased with the recital and the camp, which is now in its fourth year.

She said this year, Digital World provided a computer lab and two UF students to teach campers digital art and technology and Photoshop. The campers also learned Microsoft Word, a word processing program.

"This year, our summer camp expanded beyond our expectations — both financially and with student participation," Terrell said.

The recital and camp garnered high praise.

Reatha Richardson said her granddaughter, Skyler Williams, a third-grader at Duval Elementary Fine Arts Academy, enjoyed attending camp and she enjoyed the recital.

"I think the camp is great," Richardson said. "Skyler did really well and she couldn't wait to come to the recital today."

Jocelin Wallace, a third-grader at Hidden Oak Elementary, really liked coming to camp.

"I like the teachers and the classes," Jocelin said. "It's very fun."

Shirley Whitesides said her 9-year-old granddaughter Lauren Matt, who lives in Jacksonville, visits her here during the summer and attends the camp.

"It's a really good camp," Whitesides said.

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