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Thursday, September 29, 2022
HomeNewsArchives4-H Program Brings Summer Academy to a Close

4-H Program Brings Summer Academy to a Close

It was the feel-good show of the summer, and nothing could dim the spirits of the young performers. Not even a power outage.
Scores of kids gathered Wednesday night in the auditorium of the St. Croix Educational Complex to show hundreds of parents what they had accomplished during the six weeks of Summer Academy, a program sponsored by UVI’s Cooperative Extension Service 4-H Family and Consumer Sciences Program.
The room was packed with kids from about 6 to teens. The walls were lined with projects they had made, everything from small mocko jumbie figures to solar ovens made from pizza boxes and aluminum foil, birdhouses made from milk jugs and garden boxes full of heads of lettuce.
And on stage, the kids were strutting their stuff – sometimes literally.
If there’s anything cuter than a group of 6-year-olds waving pictures of the Earth while singing “It’s a Wonderful World,” well, it’s hard to imagine.
The Young Scholars Steel Pan group played, and teens modeled dresses they made during the program, walking the walk and striking the poses as if Tyra Banks were in the audience casting “America’s Next Top Model.”
Other members of the Young Scholars group presented a video of how they’d spent their summer, a program that included robotics and studying how GPS systems work. Other students presented the computer quiz games they’d developed using Power Point.
Many of these young people had hardly ever touched a computer, cooked or sewn so much as a button on a shirt, according to Lois Sanders, assistant director of the Extension Service.
As the program opened she thanked all the volunteers and supporters along with the staff for making the program possible. She also urged parents to keep involved in their children’s lives throughout the year.
“Keep them involved in positive activities the year ‘round,” she said.
Ashel Bunche, the mother of 7-year-old Ashley Suffren, said her daughter really wanted to attend the program this summer, and she was only to happy to let her.
“I like that it’s educational and fun,” she said.
The show was rolling, with just three acts to go – the Young Scholars’ Math Demonstration, a Shining Star skit called “Beach Disaster,” and one last steel pan performance – when it happened. The room went black.
And that’s when maybe the most impressive part of the evening happened. Sure, a couple of kids screamed. Put a hundred kids in a room and suddenly shut off the lights and some of them will scream.
But those few screams were replaced almost instantly by embarrassed giggles, and suddenly every parent with a cell phone had flipped it on or open and was holding it up to provide illumination. Four or five even had fairly powerful flashlights.
And instead of scattering or stampeding for the doors, the kids stayed in place and sang another round of the 4-H theme song. Then the steel pan band played it, which seemed to be asking a lot in the mostly dark.
The crowd just didn’t want the show to be over, and for about another 20 minutes it wasn’t, even though it was pretty dark.
But slowly the reality seeped in – according to one organizer a feeder that powers the campus had gone out and it wasn’t going to be back. And in small groups, parents holding their children’s hands they made their way up the aisle and into the courtyard. Even there the lights were still out.
But there seemed to be no grumbling. The evening hadn’t ended as planned, but there was still juice and cookies on the table by the door, and if the last few minutes of the program had been dark, the summer was awfully bright.

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