At Young Scholars of Central Pennsylvania Charter School in State College, we focus on teaching students to be lifelong learners and prepare them for a global economy while placing emphasis on world cultures. One way we do so is by providing Spanish and Chinese instruction to all of our kindergarten through eighth grade students. Along with language classes, our students often take part in activities from these cultures. Some of the activities that students look forward to are making Chinese dumplings, celebrating the Day of the Dead and celebrating the Chinese New Year. Along with learning the Spanish and Chinese languages and cultures during the school day, our students have the opportunity to enhance their knowledge in our extended day program. During our extended day program, students also have the opportunity to join academic clubs in the upper grades such as Math Counts, Robotics, Science Olympiad and Reading Club. Read on to learn more about some of our special activities.
International Mother Language Day and Chinese New Year Celebration
One of the biggest events that happens at Young Scholars each year is our International Mother Languages Day and Chinese New Year Celebration. The event always starts with a fashion show in which students and staff members wear clothing from different countries. After the fashion show, students perform songs and skits in Chinese and Spanish. Along with the fashion show and performances, the students have the option to have Chinese food for lunch.
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YSCP has a Robotics team that is made up of upper elementary and middle school students. Our team, RoboScholars, won several top awards at the regional First Lego League competition and qualified for the FLL World Festival that took place in St. Louis, Missouri. At the Southwest/Central Pennsylvania First Lego League competition, the team won a First Place Champions Award and a Robot Performance Award. More than 265,000 children from 80 countries gathered for the FLL World Festival. The FLL competition consisted of three areas with separate judging: Robot Game, Project and Core Values. For the Robot Game area, RoboScholars designed and programmed an autonomous robot which completed specific tasks. For the Project section, they designed and made the PronunciAID — a device that can record short messages and play them back, optimized for classroom use with the goal of helping students during language courses. RoboScholars ended up with a third place in Mechanical Design.
YSCP also has a Science Olympiad team and each year the team competes at the regional competition that is held at Millersville University. Our team won several medals at the competition.
Students in fourth through sixth grade are able to take part in the YSCP competitive reading team. These students read from a list of more than 40 books, focusing on their understanding of the important details in the text. The team meets weekly to discuss the books and answer questions in an effort to prepare for the competition. In March, the team competes against other teams from within a three county radius. Last year was only our second year to participate in this competition and the YSCP team received a third place trophy.
Art and Music Showcase
Every May, YSCP holds an Art and Music Showcase. The event serves as a culminating showcase of our students’ efforts in the visual and performing arts for the school year. The students work hard all year on art projects that will be displayed on this evening. Every student in the building has at least one piece of art displayed in our hallways. The parents are then invited in to view the art projects in a gallery setting. Following the viewing of the art projects, our bands and choir perform in their second concert of the year.
Touch of Culture
Each year, the Parent Advisory Committee at Young Scholars hosts a Touch of Culture Night. The purpose of this event is to highlight a specific culture. To highlight the chosen culture, there are foods, performances and activities from the culture.
Our students had the opportunity to take part in international trips to Asia, Europe and South America. During the 2017 spring break, YSCP students, staff and parents will have the opportunity to go to Costa Rica. While taking this touristic trip, students are able to visit local schools and get the chance to practice their Spanish.
Wallops Island trip
Fifth graders at YSCP visit Wallops Island each year. Among several activities that students take part in Chincoteague Bay Field Station’s school programs, they learn the importance of the phrase “leave nothing but footprints.” In just one morning during the May trip, they collected five bags of trash from along the shore of Wallops Island.
Crystal Confer is a teacher and communications coordinator at Young Scholars.