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CCSD Summer: Eighth-grade students discover activities and career possibilities

When Xavier Maslow walked into the Cherry Creek Innovation Campus (CCIC) for the first day of a summer camp, he wasn’t expecting to meet so many new people and learn so much. 

Maslow joined 45 other rising eighth-graders at the CCIC for Camp Discover YOU, a Career and Technical Education summer camp in its first year. The grant-funded program gave students an opportunity to do projects in four career pathways: Hospitality and Tourism (specifically Hospitality & Food Production); Infrastructure Engineering; IT and STEAM; and Health and Wellness.

“My favorite part was designing the sticker for a cornhole set,” Maslow said. “We built it in the infrastructure pathway and I liked that I could bring all my creativity and make real things.”

Miriama Naqica, another student in the program, enjoyed learning at Camp Discover YOU and valued the feeling of accomplishment that comes from making something yourself.

Eighth-grade students discover activities and career possibilities

“It’s a big deal making something with your two hands,” Naqica said. “You can’t really explain just how proud you are to try something new and make it quality.”

Program directors Kristin Louise and Erin Vogel wanted the summer program to be a place where students could experience hands-on learning in career fields that they could go on to explore at their respective home high schools. With more than 77 Career and Technical Education programs available at every high school and most middle schools across the district, students have a lot of opportunities to find what motivates them: their pathway of purpose.

As students learned how to make pizza and drill holes, they were also learning how to work in a team to collaborate and solve problems. This program is one of the ways the district practices the core value of Engagement. Being engaged in learning drives students to be curious and take ownership of their education. 

“I have enjoyed exploring what I might want to do as a job,” rising eighth-grader Andrea Gheorghe said. “Being able to actually do these things embeds it in my brain. Reading helps you memorize but performing gives you muscle memory.”

Eighth-grade students discover activities and career possibilities

While learning new skills and trying new activities was a top reason why students enjoyed the summer camp, some students found new insights about a familiar subject. Luke Neumayer, another student at Camp Discover YOU, grew up in a family of builders and had learned to use tools at an early age. 

“Being able to work independently has been really cool,” Neumayer said. “It showed me that I can do what I want to do and dive right into it and do my best.”


Posted 6/21/222.