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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

The learning season

Spokane Valley Tech offering hands-on classes for summer

This summer, students in Spokane Valley are attending a different kind of summer school.

For the first time, Spokane Valley Tech is offering summer school classes. The 13-day sessions are free, and offer a chance for hands-on learning in a variety of subjects: aerospace and advanced manufacturing, cosmetology, energy and manufacturing, fire science, Microsoft IT Academy, sports medicine, introduction to engineering and design and the principles of biomedical sciences.

“Summer school is the condensed version of our programs,” said SVT director Scott Oakshott.

The first session started Monday. Students arrive at 7:30 every morning at the school at 115 S. University Road, and stay until 2:30 p.m. In order to receive the half school credit offered, students can only miss one day.

“That’s a commitment,” Oakshott said.

He said there are 145 students enrolled in each session. While some of them attend to make up credits they lost over the previous school year, most of them are there for extra work.

Spokane Valley Tech is a partnership among Central Valley, East Valley, Freeman and West Valley school districts. Most of the students attending this summer are from Central Valley. The classes are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

In Bill Close’s aerospace and advanced manufacturing class, students are learning to fasten metal together using rivets and nut plates – the same technique used in building airplanes. Close, who teaches industrial arts at East Valley High School, said the curriculum was designed by Boeing, and students learn to rivet before they work on the kits.

“Goofing up is allowed (at this point),” Close said.

One of his students is Elizabeth Bernbaum, 16, who will be a junior this fall at Central Valley High School. She had a metal plate in front of her studded with rivets.

She said she doesn’t mind going to school in the summer, and since class is over at 2:30, she still has half a day to enjoy.

“I just wanted to learn something over the summer,” Bernbaum said.

Oakshott said students generally don’t have homework because most of the learning is hands-on, but there are tests.

Colson Ahrendt, 15, is going to be a sophomore at Barker High School this fall. He is taking the engineering class, where students were learning drafting the old-fashioned way, with pencil, paper and a ruler, before the class computers arrived Thursday.

“I’m just learning a new skill,” Ahrendt said. “It seemed interesting.”

In the biomedical class, students worked in groups to prepare a presentation on the systems of the human body.

Daniel Barajas, 15, will be a sophomore at University High School this fall and is learning about the cardiovascular system.

He was surprised at how many veins there are pumping blood through the body.

“It’s all over the body,” he said.

Barajas said he didn’t have any plans this summer and thought the class would be fun.

“It’s a lot more fun than I thought it would be,” said Niko Corsaro, 14, who will be a freshman at Central Valley.

He wanted to get a high school credit before he started high school, so he took the class.

Cameron Dwyer, 15, a sophomore at U-Hi this fall, decided summer school at SVT would help him in his future plans.

“I’m thinking of a career in medicine,” he said.

Oakshott said the students seem to be enjoying the programs, and so is he.

“I’m loving it,” he said. “This is the coolest job anyone can have.”