The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Watersmeet's summer skills camp helps students move ahead


July 11, 2019


Watersmeet — On a sunny summer day, young people in Watersmeet could be found congregating together in school, working to improve their education. Watersmeet’s summer program, termed “summer skills camp,” is a chance for students to catch up and advance their education, according to principal George Peterson.

Peterson said he is gratified by the participation in summer, with up to 65 of the 140 students in the school participating over the summer, and over 40 in the building Tuesday. While the main purpose is education, Peterson said that a great benefit is that students receive a free breakfast and lunch during the session. He said that with 75% of the students in the districts living under the poverty level (according to the Michigan Department of Human Services), the meals are an added plus for many.

Tony Basenese, who teaches computer and business classes and supervises the computer lab, said the students “have a great chance to work at their own pace to catch up or get ahead” in the summer. “Everybody is working on something different,” he said.

Some students are taking classes during the summer that they cannot take during the school year due to schedule conflicts. The availability of online courses allows the school to offer more elective options for students. “When you are this small, you need to use every option,” Basenese said.

Students Alana Barajas and Kailey Maki, both entering seventh grade this fall, were in working on improving their reading. They were there to improve their grades, but Barajas said she likes that there is “less pressure” during the summer. Basenese added that there has been “real good attendance throughout the summer.” “Students have a chance to improve their grades, and they are taking it.”

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