The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Summer program in city schools show kids museums in DC and Richmond, local businesses
BY ROBYN SIDERSKY
Rising fifth-grader Richard Johnson focused on carefully dipping the feather pen into the ink and then copying the neat script, making just the right loops on each letter.
He was trying to write the way George Washington did more than 200 years ago.
It was part of an activity he shared with other fourth- and fifth-graders in Fredericksburg’s summer scholars program.
Nearly 200 city students have been at Lafayette Upper Elementary School for the past week and will be for two more.
The program, for kindergarten through fifth grade, send participants to Washington and Richmond museums and to local businesses on field trips.
The purpose is to provide students a variety of cultural, geographical and historical experiences through classroom activities, guest speakers and field trips.
The students are divided into three groups: kindergarten and first grade; second and third; and fourth and fifth.
Each group has three or four teachers leading. Principal Matthew Terry and other school officials oversee the program.
It is celebrating its 20th year, and some parents in town will tell you they remember their children loving it when they went.
“The teachers really know how to produce lessons,” Terry said.
One day last week, the youngest group was learning about recycling paper by making their own.
The second- and third-graders wrote letters to soldiers overseas and made scrapbooks about their field trips.
The oldest group, which Richard was in, learned about George Washington’s time through calligraphy, costumes and games.
The program runs 9:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. until Aug. 17.
Terry said this year it was scheduled after summer school ended so that students who had to attend that could go also. And school doesn’t start until two weeks later.
Field trips the students take include the Newseum, the American History Museum, Mount Vernon, Kenmore Plantation and Chancellorsville Battlefield, just to name a few.
The days they don’t go on field trips, they have guest speakers and activities where they are learning and having fun.
It’s less formal than the classroom, but they learn more than they would by just going to summer camp.
The tuition is $100, but many students are on partial or full scholarships, based on need.