WARREN - The Trumbull County Educational Service Center's Saturday Enrichment Program is marking its 30th year.
The six-week program, which is held in the fall and again in the spring, offers children in second to sixth grade specialized courses in the fine and performing arts, computers and foreign languages.
Barb Acerra, supervisor of gifted and talented with TCESC, said each year about 560 students participate in the program.
Course offerings include French and Spanish cultural awareness, creative writing, ancient cultures, ancient art, drawing, watercolor, creative dramatics, cooking, math magic, typing, keyboarding, microcomputers and Mysteries of Science.
The program was originally started in 1980 by Jack Beard, a retired teacher who assists with the courses.
Acerra said programs that have been popular with students are offered twice a year with newer courses added.
"We try to change classes when we can and make them available when instructors can teach. We have had gardening and yoga for children,'' she said.
Beard said the program started in the 1980s when the state had just started funding gifted / talented programs. Previously such programs had to be paid for by districts on their own, he said.
"We had to start from scratch and got the parents involved in supporting us," he said.
Beard said he wanted to see the program get off the ground and let people see that the gifted and talented classes should be in the school districts.
"We have some really good teachers who offer their time instructing the students," Beard said, adding that he puts time into helping with the program.
Students often enjoy the programs and return each year.
"We have had students who started in second grade and continue all the way through sixth grade coming back every year," Beard said.
Riley Ranft, 9, of Warren, said he signed up for "Art Gone Green" which involves students using recyclable items for art projects.
"I was looking for some interesting way to spend my Saturdays and enjoy this,'' Ranft said.
Leslie Kraker, art instructor, said students made leprechauns out of creamer containers and will make piggy banks out of pop bottles and paper mache' as students learn about recycling.
Jenna Smith, 9, of Champion, said she liked sculpture and wanted to sign up for an artistic class.
"I think it is important to reuse things to save the environment," Smith said.
Ethan Deemer, 10, of Howland, said he enjoys the art projects but also learning of ways to help keep the environment safe.
Emma Kish, 9, of Howland, said she thought watercolor would be an interesting class to take. "I was ready for learning about watercolor," Kish said.