Academy adds pizazz to students’ summers
Tonganoxie's own King of Late Night appeared June 14 in the Tonganoxie Elementary School music room.
The celebrity even finished his show just in time for lunch.
Jay Limo, also known as 12-year-old Grant Ebbert, took center stage as Tonganoxie's talk show host. His performance, with the help of other personalities, was part of the Kids Take the Stage class at TES' Summer Enrichment Academy. The students performed skits for fellow academy enrollees.
Cast member Krista Jobst, who is also 12, said the weeklong preparation for the event took some patience.
"You want to laugh really hard," Jobst said. "It's not funny for a week when you're doing it over and over and over and over and over."
Ebbert and Jobst, along with fellow cast members Rachel Krivjansky, Steve Davis, Kavet Letourneau and Hunter Dean performed various skits in their variety show. Some acted in commercials, while others took part in a Star Wars-like "lightsaber" fight with the music room lights flickering.
Kindergarten teacher Nancy Gibbens and music teacher Karen Stephenson instructed the class, which included teaching students about plays and the stage.
The Summer Enrichment Academy is a three-week program that ended Friday. Most courses involve one-week sessions, although three courses Stamp-arama, Nature in a Nutshell and Photo Shop were conducted as a three-week course.
The academy, in its sixth year, offered 23 programs this month. TES Principal Jerry Daskoski, who's been in Tonganoxie 11 years, said the academy provides a nice balance for students.
"We thought it would really be nice to have classes kids could take that would be half educational and half entertaining."
The program offers a wide range of activities, from various cooking classes to quilting. Other examples include a Spanish class and a dinosaur class. Potter Mania, taught by Katrina Korb, is all about Harry Potter.
The school also has included a pre-kindergarten academy the last three years.
A kindergarten screening in May helps determine which potential kindergartners might not quite be ready for the classroom setting. Those children are invited to the academy, as are all other potential kindergartners.
Like the Enrichment Academy, only a certain number of students may enroll in the pre-kindergarten academy. This year's class has 26 enrolled, with six teachers conducting the program.
Daskoski said it's been enjoyable seeing students come through the academy and show significant improvement.
"It's just been a positive thing," Daskoski said.
If students missed this year's academy, the program will be offered next year.
The academy is the only program of its kind in the area, although Daskoski said officials in the Shawnee Mission school district have shown interest.
For Ebbert, who turned 12 Friday and was serenaded during the skit, the class flew by.
"The week's gone fast," he said.
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