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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Fax: 540-483-8013

GATEWAY hosts enrichment camp
Gifted students challenged by unique learning opportunities
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Staff Photo by Stacey Hairston: Elementary students show off their handmade art to parents and friends during an open house banquet at the end of GATEWAY summer enrichment camp. Above, Franklin County School Board Chair Sarah Alexander (center) admires cake creations inspired by fruits, vegetables and natural ingredients.

Monday, July 1, 2013


Elementary students in Franklin County's GATEWAY program participated in summer enrichment camps last week at the Gereau Center.

The theme of the camps was "GATEWAY Goes Green," focusing on taking care of the earth and making healthy and environmentally responsible choices, said Jodie Robinson, gifted and talented coordinator for the school division.

Students in third through fifth grade met at the Gereau Center daily from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. to participate in a rotation of activities, which helped foster an awareness of healthy eating, ways to utilize natural resources and the reuse of materials to build masterful art pieces. Various art pieces were created with recycled products, styrofoam and pop tabs.

"Students also had the option of designing a culinary creation using fruits and vegetable juices combined with regular cake ingredients," said Robinson.

At the Center for Energy Efficient Design (CEED), students created working wind turbines, requiring students to make connections between the wind and the sun.

Using iPad apps, campers created their own environmental public service announcements.

Campers were also shown examples of organic gardening and healthy eating habits.

A reception was held after camp at the Gereau Center for parents to view student work from the week.

GATEWAY also sponsored summer camp for middle-schoolers that featured various field trips around the region.

The middle school camp theme was "Out and About" and included trips to study history, science, music, technology and the arts.

Students visited the Blue Ridge Farm Institute at Ferrum College and learned what it was like to live in Franklin County during the 1800s. They made Johnny cakes over hot coals, learned how to drive an ox, worked as a team to put together a small scale log cabin and even had a chance to forge an S-hook with the resident blacksmith. The students also received a campus tour, which included the college dorm rooms, classrooms, lecture halls, library and athletic facilities. 

A trip to the Glazed Bisque-It, Roanoke City Market and Taubman Museum of Art gave students the opportunity to learn about the pottery/glazing/kiln process, view exhibits and explore the Art Venture room.

At Amazement Square in Lynchburg the student learned about making good choices, first aid and basic CPR.

Students were given the opportunity to use the laws of physics to create their own roller coaster with foam insulation tubing. The device was tested with marbles.

Students who visited the Jefferson Music Lab in Roanoke received a lesson on using technology and the latest equipment that is needed to create a recording.

"Their talents were put to the test as they worked in groups and implemented what they just learned in order to create their own music recordings," said Robinson.

GATEWAY summer camps for elementary and middle school students take place annually with new themes and trips each year.

"We have many repeat campers who come back year after year, and we want to make sure they have a different experience each year," said Robinson. "Parents and students have been very complimentary of our summer camp offerings. We also have a great staff that makes the week even more fun for our students."

To find out more information about the GATEWAY referral and testing process, visit the Franklin County public schools' gifted website at

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