“We’re trying to get them back in the habit of going to school.” Terrance “Terry” Rixner, camp volunteer
Gonzales — Terrance “Terry” Rixner sat at a table surrounded by books and children during the recent “Summer Camp Boost” hosted by the Howard Johnson American Legion Auxiliary Unit 557.
More than a dozen children used the math and reading books throughout the morning tutorial session.
“We’re trying to get them back in the habit of going to school,” Rixner said during a morning break on July 25.
Sonia Mulberry, organizer of the camp, said the beginning of a new school semester brings with it several adjustments that can make learning difficult for some children.
Students have to adjust to earlier bed times, different meal schedules and a new classroom routine, she said.
The camp began on July 23 with just five children, but each day, she said, more students arrived.
Each day, some students arrived late, but Mulberry said she hoped that by the end of the seven-day camp, the students would get used to the 8 a.m. start time.
The students took brief exercise breaks “to break things up,” Mulberry said.
Community volunteers, many retired and current educators, guided the children through math and reading basics.
Lucinda Mulberry, a paraprofessional, expressed concern that some students don’t know basic math and reading facts needed in critical thinking and for advanced subjects.
“If you don’t have the basics, how will you be able to learn algebra?” she asked.
Encouraging the students to read for fun was another camp goal of Lucinda Mulberry.
“I want to instill in them a love of reading,” she said. “Once they get started, they quickly pick it up.”
“The goal (of the camp) is that students will review strategies to help them remember story elements and how important it is to use those skills in the writing process,” according to a poster on the wall of the American Legion building.
That’s just what retired teacher Irma Rixner was doing as she read aloud with a group of students.
Irma Rixner quizzed the students about the various parts the story and encouraged group discussions.
Kiyah Ursin, 8, quickly answered the questions, laughing and smiling as the teacher complimented her on the responses.
Kiyah said she was looking forward to the first day of school, which is Aug. 8 for Ascension Parish students.
After lessons in reading and math, the students took a break for lunch.
Sonia Mullberry said the summer camp is part of the American Legion Post 557 Auxiliary’s community outreach program.
The auxiliary is planning a “Voices for Veterans” showcase on Sept. 8 for singers, she said.
The event, a fundraiser for the American Legion, will have a soloist registration and voice screening from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the post hall.
The group is hosting a back-to-school prayer breakfast at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday at the post hall on Toby Avenue in Gonzales.
Parents, students and school personnel are invited to the program for a $5 donation. Children 10 and younger will be admitted for free.
For information on any of the auxiliary program, call (225) 329-8248 or email, firstname.lastname@example.org.