Academy Offers Summer Break Alternative

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MEXICO - For most children, the thought of summer school inspires feelings of fear or resentment. But students participating in the Missouri Military Academy's ERA program get the chance to do more than schoolwork.

After the school day is over, the 52 boys and girls in the program leave the classroom and head toward the academy's campus to participate in a variety of activities.

Supervised by teachers and other faculty members, the students have the chance to learn how to scuba dive, ride horses, lift weights, or play on the academy's soccer field.

LTC Frank Giuseffi, the school's dean of academics said that continuing to present children with educational material during the summer is just as important as it is during the academic year. But he added that having an outlet - such as athletic activities after class - is also important.

"They're still learning great things: teamwork, fair play, [and] competition," Giuseffi said.

47 of the participating students, who range between seventh and twelfth grade, are living in the academy's barracks for the duration of the camp, and most are enjoying the experience.

"I go to public school [normally], so this is really different. But I like it," said seventh grader Ross Nidro.

Ninth grader Brais Galvan Sotelo traveled all the way from Spain to attend the program and take a robotics course this summer. He said he'd rather be in school learning something new than spend three months being bored.

Michael Pemberton, who is teaching a biology course for the program this summer said he sees a difference in how the children learn outside of the regular academic year.

"Every day is equivalent to about a week of school, so there's no downtime. The student really has to get in class, focus on their studies and get out as much as they can get out for that entire day," Pemberton said.

He added that continuing to take classes during the summer will more than likely give students a leg up over their peers who choose to vacation for the entire break.

The program will run until July 21st.