Elementary Students Expand Their Horizons


Instead of sleeping late or playing video games, dozens of Amityville students spent the first two weeks of August expanding their minds this summer at the Summer Enrichment Camp, held at Park Avenue Memorial Elementary School.

The eight-day program, in its second year, was sponsored by the district’s 21st Century Community Learning Center. Close to 70 students, entering fourth through sixth grades, selected two courses from a variety of art and science-based offerings.

A husband-and-wife team taught a pair of performance courses. Gerald Asbell, the Drama Club advisor at Edmund W. Miles Middle School, led “Acting Up,” a basic theater class. Melissa Asbell, who directs the shows at Amityville Memorial High School, taught “Finding Our Voices,” which focused on singing and dancing — and doing both at the same time.

Students learned how to play the recorder in a music class led by Debra Lee, a social worker at Northwest Elementary School. Pottery, watercolor paintings and T-shirt making were among the projects in art class “Exploring the World Through Color” with Kristyn Langstred.

In an environmental science class with Park Avenue teacher Alexia Nyholm, students explored animal habitats. A Lego robotics class led by teachers Arlene Farkash and Laurie Malatesta had students build robots from kits, program their actions on a computer and test them. The second week featured a “Battlebots” competition. Rounding out the schedule was an archery class with Joseph Puglisi.  

Amityville 21st Century Program Director Darleen Peterson said the enrichment camp, which followed the popular four-week summer enrichment program at Northwest, gave students the opportunity to learn new skills in a relaxed atmosphere. “This is meant to be fun,” she said. “I’m really looking to expand my students’ horizons and their life experiences.”