Kids spend first weeks of summer vacation back at school - - Columbia, South Carolina

Kids spend first weeks of summer vacation back at school


While most kids spent the first weeks of their summer vacation swimming or playing at home, some kids in the Lee County School District were back at school -- voluntarily.

The inaugural summer enrichment program called Project LEAD just wrapped up this week with a special program where the kids showed off what they learned. More than 800 kids participated in classes ranging from the arts, to academics, athletics, even cooking and sewing.

"The opportunities that we offered them this summer were very important because one of the things we found was that our kids did not have exposure," Executive Director of Instruction and School Leadership Dr. Mary Hallums said. "Part of what we were trying to do this summer was to give them a fun way of learning."

Instructors for the arts program, including chorus, guitar, drums, African dance, hip-hop, foreign languages and art were provided through a partnership with the Auntie Karen Foundation, which specializes in encouraging young entrepreneurs.

"What began as one little camp kept mushrooming and mushrooming and mushrooming," Hallums said.

After seven years without arts or music, the school district is bringing back its arts program beginning in the fall. Now the district has the instruments and sewing machines necessary for those classes.

"We took the arts out of the schools, we took the sewing, the home ec out," Hallums said. "So now they're learning to do basic things that are survival."

Hallums is confident that, thanks to the enrichment program, kids will return to school in the fall without losing much of their academic mindset.

"We're thinking that they will not have lost as much as they normally lose over the summer," she said.

The district plans to continue the program.

"It was just awesome to see the kids' faces," Hallums said.

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