Thursday, July 24, 2014

Summer classes expand educational offerings


Alex Hess demonstrates how to use a hand-held plasma cutter during a summer enrichment welding class last week offered through the Davis Adult and Community Education program at Davis High School. Hess will teach Welding for Artists on July 21-24, which is open to students in grades 9-12. Sue Cockrell/Enterprise photo

From page A1 | July 13, 2014 |

Then: Sensing interest in the community for summer activity classes for kids, the Davis Adult School branched out in 2012 and offered fee-based summer enrichment classes, open to students from kindergarten through high school. Some classes ran one week, others for several weeks.

Now: What began as an experimental summer series of summer enrichment classes has put down roots and become a popular annual series. Students have been enjoying classes since June 16, and a new series will start on July 21 (with some seats available in a number of classes).

Grace Sauser, principal of Davis Adult and Continuing Education, said, “We are enjoying our third year of K-12 summer enrichment and have seen the students do and create some awesome things.

‘In the first session, students painted beautiful landscapes, created unique metal sculptures, drew their own exciting comic books and manga, and baked yummy goodies.”

Sauser said the district has partnered with Davis Kids Klub to provide a full-day option for families that need child care, “and we plan to continue that partnership throughout the school year and into next summer.”

Instructor Alex Hess is teaching welding classes in the metal shop classroom at Davis High School — he’s already done two sections of Lincoln Electric Junior Engineers’ Welding Camp (June 16-26 and July 7-17). On July 21-24, Hess will teach Welding for Artists, open to students in grades 9-12 (the $80 tuition includes materials).

Hess explained that welding students learn the basics of welding through several different processes, and finish their short course with projects they have completed in class.

“I teach the students how to operate the equipment in a safe manner, and build something that they like,” he said.

Typical projects include coat racks, garden art, boot scrapers and various kinds of sculptures.

Hess added that when he teaches welding during the regular school year at Davis High, “usually there are a number of girls in the classes.” But this summer, “I’ve had a lot of boys.”

He encourages female students to give welding a try — “It’s an opportunity to get experience in engineering and technology; we like to promote the idea of women going into those fields. There is a definite demand.”

The upcoming Welding for Artists class has “less of a focus on technology, and more focus on creativity,” Hess said. “We’ll look at spot welding, gas welding, electrical welding. … Students can make wind chimes, horseshoe flowers and windmills. It’s a fun experience.”

Over in a classroom at North Davis Elementary, instructor Cara Patton (who works with instructor Ali Von Striver) was teaching a nature study class titled “Into the Wild” last week. A new section for students in grades K-6 starts on July 21. Tuition is $80.

“We do hands-on activities, including going out in nature and collecting materials we can use to create different models of animals … like a model of a bird, using pine needles, sticks and pine cones,” Patton said.

The idea is to “take a step back from the advanced (technological) world and notice that nature exists all around us. Even if you’re not in a national forest or a national park, there are natural things here in Davis that kids can experience.”

Last week, Patton and her students were learning about the names associated with different parts of a bird’s body: tail, wing, eyering, crown, throat, breast. And they talked about different species of birds: barn own, barn swallow, mallard duck, house finch, peregrine falcon, European starling, American robin, killdeer, black-throated night heron, house sparrow, rock pigeon, mourning dove.

The class includes a bit of circle time in which students share “email” messages (meaning “earth mail”) and look at books that have titles like “Do Unto Otters” and “Quick as a Cricket.”

Other classes starting July 21 include Baking Basics (grades 4-6), Origami (grades 8-12), For Love of Math (grades 10-12), Intermediate Spanish (grades 1-6), Japanese Language and Culture (grades 5-9), an advanced unit of a class called Learn a New Language: Computer!, and a workshop class titled Writing the College Essay and Completing College Applications.

For information about summer enrichment classes, go online to

— Reach Jeff Hudson at or 530-747-8055.





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