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Reading, writing, math and more at church's summer camp

By Sara Gregory
sgregory@salisburypost.com
The students making a model of Jupiter barely let their classmates finish spouting facts about the planet before sharing more.
“Scientists say there’s a storm on Jupiter that’s always going on,” 10-year-old Elijah Black says.
“It has three moons,” says 11-year-old Deshawn Troutman. “If you try to go around Jupiter, it’s going to take a long time.”
“You know the earth that we’re on?” Black asks. “It’s really big. Jupiter is even bigger.”
Black and Troutman were working on science projects with classmates at the Stepping-Up Youth Education and Enrichment Center.
About 70 students graduated Friday from the summer enrichment program that seeks to give academically at-risk students extra help while school is out. This is the third year the summer program has been offered.
“We’re here to help them grow,” Director Donnie Johnson says. “Our focus is always the children.”
Stepping-Up has classrooms at Gethsemane Missionary Baptist Church. For seven weeks this summer, students have been working on reading, writing and math skills.
The program also incorporates character-building and recreational activities. Students took the train to visit the Greensboro Children’s Museum earlier this week.
“We had to walk to the museum but then it was play, play, play,” says 11-year-old Dakiyah Abram.
Wednesday, students were working on the science projects they would present to parents Friday.
One class studied healthy living habits.
“More children are overweight,” 9-year-old Zion DeBose says. “We want to show them how to be healthy.”
Another class studied alternative energy. Two groups were making volcanos.
“It’s going to blow out fire,” 6-year-old Vivian Berger says with a grin.
The summer and year-round after-school tutoring programs are run by teachers, many from the Rowan-Salisbury School System.
Gethsemane Church donates office space for the program.
“The doors of this church stay open,” pastor Clary Phelps says. “There’s always someone here.
“We’ve got a pretty active group of disciples.”

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