Wareham students CARE

By Jaime Rebhan | Aug 15, 2011
Photo by: Jaime Rebhan CARE Fair attendees tried out student-made remotely operated vehicles.

Students in the Wareham Public Schools CARE program ended their six-week summer session with a bang on Thursday, August 11. The festivities included singing, dancing, and a fair, during which students raised several hundred dollars to donate to the National Marine Life Center in Buzzards Bay.

Administrators were able to extend the grant-funded summer program, which stands for "Community, Academic, Recreational and Enrichment" by a week this year after the district received additional state grant funding.

The program helped 225 elementary and middle school students, many of whom are considered "at-risk," build upon skills learned during the school year

"We were fortunate to get this grant this summer," CARE program director Jane Fondulis told parents who gathered at the program's fair on Thursday to see everything their children had been working on over the past weeks. "Let's cross our fingers and hope we get it next year too!"

In addition to student presentations, the CARE Fair offered food, a mini-golf course built by students, and hand-made merchandise created by students, including birdhouses, chalk boards, bookmarks, and magnets. The students raised $600 for the National Marine Life Center.

All of the activities offered during the CARE program are "hands-on, community-service based," Fondulis said. The program is also offered after school during the school year.

Marine science was the focus of the summer program. Students went on field trips to the New England Aquarium and New Bedford Whaling Museum and completed projects based on the subject.

As part of an engineering project, some students built remotely operated vehicles and dispatched them into a pool of water to collect mock sea specimens. The project was meant to correlate with operations used in the Gulf of Mexico following the BP oil spill, said teacher Nicole Stahmer.

The students "were very engaged once it came time to build," said Stahmer. "This is how learning should be done."

Younger students visited the beach to check out marine life and cleaned up litter. For a writing exercise, the students wrote a story about how the garbage arrived at the beach from the perspective of a piece of trash.

The CARE summer program also offered chorus, movie-making, and gardening, among other activities. Students also completed their summer reading projects.

Wareham was one of only four districts in the state to receive the additional funding for the summer program. Twelve districts applied.

Administrators are trying to collect data to determine if extending a summer program for students is more effective than extending the amount of time children spend in school daily during the regular school year.

"We're going to see if these kids just roll right back into academics," said Fondulis.

Check out the photos and video to see what the students worked during the CARE program!

Students perform to "Firework"
CARE students lip sync and dance to Katy Perry's "Firework." (Video by: Jaime Rebhan)
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