Summer camp takes edge off education at St. John Vianney

Art teacher Nick Berg looks over students Adalyn Schoen, Dylan Romero, Victoria Nguyen and Hallie Czarnecki as they work on their paintings at St. John Viannay’s Super Summer Camp.

Art teacher Nick Berg looks over students Adalyn Schoen, Dylan Romero, Victoria Nguyen and Hallie Czarnecki as they work on their paintings at St. John Viannay’s Super Summer Camp.

July 22, 2014

After three weeks of fun, St. John Vianney Catholic School is finally closing for the summer.

St. John Vianney saw its doors remain open and its classrooms populated for the first time during the summer months for the school's inaugural Super Summer Camp.

"We're normally just a regular nine-month school, but we had a lot of parents say that something being offered during the summer would be nice," said Summer Camp administrator Dan Demeter.

The camp has an enrollment of 40 students and concludes its three-week session Thursday, July 24. Eight teachers have stuck around for the summer to teach classes in a variety of subjects including cooking, physical education, writing for publication, global conflict and music.

Demeter, a social studies teacher during the regular school year, noted the faculty's goal of making classes interactive and exciting.

"We wanted to emphasize that this is not summer school," Demeter said. "Summer school kind of makes it sound like these kids have something to make up. This is just a summer camp."

Students enrolled at St. John Vianney for the summer camp ranged from grades one through eight, although younger students made up the majority.

"The teachers have been great," Demeter said. "With it being summer, they've been very good at keeping the kids active and keeping the atmosphere light and fun."

Incoming eighth-grader Helen Lilek said Demeter's class, Global Conflicts, was her favorite part of the program.

"It's really interesting, and we are going to get to Skype with a Vietnam War veteran," Lilek said.

Other students' favorite subjects ranged from learning about computers to cooking brownies.

For Demeter and St. John Vianney School Principal Christine Gordon, it was a new experience. Demeter and Gordon essentially swapped roles for the three-week period, with Gordon assuming a teaching position and Demeter focusing on administrative work. Demeter finished his master's degree in educational leadership and graduated from Cardinal Stritch University earlier this year.

"It's been fun," he said. "I get to learn to be an administrator and Chris gets to be in the classroom."

St. John Vianney plans to continue its summer camp program next year, although Demeter noted that changes will certainly be in store.

"We've talked about cutting it down to two weeks from three," Demeter said. "We heard from some people that they would have liked to have been involved, but a three-week commitment was just too much."

Demeter noted that to compensate for the shortened program, Super Summer Camp could run into afternoons. It currently runs from 8-11:30 a.m.

St. John Vianney School has an enrollment of around 450 students, but the summer camp is not limited to that population.

"We're open to anyone from the public," Demeter said. "We have a couple of girls from Texas who just happened to be up here for the summer and signed up. It's just a place for kids to learn but have a lot of fun too."

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