Never too young for college
WORTHINGTON -- A person is never too young to be thinking about furthering their education, and Kids College is a prime example.
A joint effort between Nobles County Integration Collaborative (NCIC) and Minnesota West Community and Technical College, Kids College is in its eighth year.
"The purpose for this is to expose as many children as possible to the college learning environment, and to give students a vision for the many opportunities that are available to them after they graduate from high school," said Sharon Johnson, NCIC coordinator.
On Monday, 100 students, consisting of fifth to eighth graders from the Nobles County area, gathered at the Minnesota West campus for a taste of college life.
Like any other college student, participants paid a tuition fee of $45 for lunch, class supplies, and transportation.
The program is structured for students to sit through four classes each day. Classes include CSI class, rocket building, cooking and introduction to chess.
In the rocket building class Tuesday, fifth and sixth graders were adding finishing touches on their creations.
Led by retired physics teacher Richard Dalrymple, they built and designed their own rockets from a kit.
"They try different things," he said. "That's how you teach physics - it's exploring."
Sixth grader Ian O'Donnell enjoyed building a rocket on his own.
"I've always done it with an adult," he said.
"Tomorrow we'll shoot them off and they can go chase them," Dalrymple said Tuesday.
Gabriel Spittle of Worthington is looking forward to launching his rocket.
"I hope I can find it again," he said.
In a wireless technology class, participants experimented with a radar gun with Worthington Police Officer Bob Fritz. Each student had a chance to handle the equipment, and one student detected a motorcycle speeding 12 mph above the speed limit.
"The reason I do classes at the Kids College is to show them how much technology is out there. They use it every day and they just don't realize it," said Fritz, who loves technology and amateur radios.
"It was really cool," Spittle said. "I didn't really know about the ionosphere."
Today, participants will attend a cooking class at the Hy-Vee club room. Greta Farley, Hy-Vee dietician, will be teaching the students how to make power bars and a fruit smoothie.
Planning the four-day program this year was slightly different due to the recent state shutdown.
"It was interesting for a while because we were not sure it would affect the colleges, so we put the planning of Kids College on hold," said Marie Johnson, Minnesota West campus marketer. "As soon as we found out that, (planning) Kids College was in full swing."
At the end of Kids College, students will attend a graduation ceremony acknowledging their participation in the program.