Tuesday, August 12
CHESHIRE

Eighteen middle and high school students from the Adams-Cheshire Regional School District recently participated in a range of activities from constructing pop-up books to mastering skills in the culinary arts — an effort to keep active while school is out of session.

The independent five-week program, which was held at Hoosac Valley Regional High School, finished last week.

Now in its second year, it is supported by local and federal moneys managed by Julia Wilk-Chaffee, the district's director of Special Services.

The participating youths are referred to the program through their Individualized Education Plan (IEP).

"These are the students who would substantially regress if they did not have summer programming," said Special Services Supervisor Kurt Garivaltis, who helps to coordinate the program.

In addition to daily sports activities and preparing a daily lunch, the students published a newsletter, "Summer Program Oh Eight!", for their families.

The exclamation point is no exaggeration; the newsletter is just one of several projects that the students have approached with enthusiasm, creativity and boundless energy.

By participating in the program, the students have also enhanced their computer skills and acquired basic carpentry skills by building birdhouses, one of which earned a top prize at the Adams Agricultural Fair.

In a reflection of the program, student Mitchell Garavazzi wrote, "The Class of 2008 is getting better. We can have fun, work a little bit and do projects. I love the class of 2008. I hope next summer I get to come back again."