Talent, classes, careers featured at summer enrichment event

WARREN — Local children had the opportunity this summer to learn about future career opportunities while taking various classes to help retain the subjects they learned this past school year.

The Inspiring Minds summer enrichment program, in its sixth year, had 500 students in grades three to 12 involved in retaining information learned during the past school year.

The concluding event during the six weeks was a talent show and finale awards assembly held at Warren G. Harding High School.

”We are celebrating their accomplishments,” said Deryck Toles, director / founder of Inspiring Minds.

The program included continuing education programs, sports, swimming lessons, college visits, cooking lessons and field trips.

Jessica Winters, program administrator, said for the finale, students and their families were asked to complete surveys.

Toles said the program helps children to retain over the summer months what they learned during the last school year while also engaging in various recreational and career searching activities.

Students at the assembly received awards for perfect attendance and leadership.

Summer programs were held at McGuffey, Willard, Jefferson, Lincoln and Harding schools, Toles said.

College visits included trips to area universities including Case Western Reserve, Cleveland State and Youngstown State.

Winters said students also learned 3D printing, a technology that was added this summer. ”We want to expose them to opportunities when they are learning in different career fields.” Toles said.

Brooklyn Honzu , a senior, has been in the program for several years.

”I feel like I gained a lot of college experience. I want to study animation, and the college visits really had an influence in what I want to do as career,” Honzu said.

She served as a mentor to younger children in the program.

Wayne Harris, a sixth-grader, said the program was exciting.

“I am glad to be able to come here. We looked at different careers. … I gained a lot of knowledge and not lost what I learned in school last year,” said Harris, who has been in the program for four years.

Harris said he had fun learning, singing and dancing for the talent show.

Present at the finale were parents, community supporters and community partners.

Toles said some of the goals set by students included learning how to swim, reading as many books as possible, opening up and making new friends. Many students achieved those goals, he said.