High schoolers have fun gearing up at camp

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Grambling, La. (KNOE) - High schoolers from around the area are camping in style.

Counselor helps a student with a drone project./ Source: KNOE

The Louisiana Gear Up program and Grambling State University are preparing them for college, and they love it.

Students like Kiran Byrdsong come back for the fun and cool projects. "It was actually fun," says Byrdsong, Carroll High School ninth-grader.

He didn't expect his first time coming to camp to be so exciting. "Summer's been boring lately. Nothing has really been happening. So, I just came to it just because. It turned out to be really fun."

The fun is helping the students stay focused on lessons. From Math to English and everything else in between, it's a chance for them to learn more and make sure they ace the ACT. "Learning more about what I can do to get a better grade on the ACT, just prepping me. And it's not hard. The stuff they’re showing us is helping us. Like helping me know I can actually pass it."

The best part of the week is up in the air, though. Well, it isn’t yet. “We're learning to build a drone out of Popsicle sticks," says Faith Porter, Wossman High School ninth-grader. “I've always bought one that already built completely. It's exciting because it's something I've never done and something completely new."

Derry Davidson, the lead counselor at the camp, says he's having as much fun as the kids. "They're funny, but we make sure we get work done," Davidson says. That work is essential because he knows he and the other counselors serve as role models for the kids. "I'm showing them no. Don't go to work. Stay in school. Go to college and get a degree."

Grambling hopes these students come to their school for that degree. “This is a powerful recruitment effort for Grambling State University,” says Dr. Loretta Walton Jaggers, GSU education professor. “Certainly we want to encourage students at a very early age to come to the university where everybody is somebody.”

While these high schoolers decide where they will take their talents, their goals are set high. Byrdsong says he plans to do great on the ACT. “I'm gone make a 36," he says.

Meanwhile, Porter says she wants to help others. "I want to become a counselor for like kids and adults with my own practice."

The LA Gear Up program will have another camp next week at Louisiana Tech.

Grambling will host another at the end of the month.

To sign your kid up for the camp and learn about their other services, go to https://www.osfa.la.gov/