During a two-week camp, students were given the opportunity to learn about the English language, the culture in the United States as well as the community as a whole and its services, during the Rome City’s Summer Language Camp.

Created and led by Noel Wilkinson, English to Speakers of Other Languages Coordinator for Rome City Schools, students from grades K-12 who are either new to the United States or simply need extra help learning academic English, can attend Rome City’s Summer Language Camp.

Elm Street hosts students in grades kindergarten through sixth, and Rome Middle School hosted the remaining students in grades seven through twelve for this summer learning experience.

“We have various levels of English language learners who are attending these camps,” explained Courtney Callaway, site coordinator for the K-6 Summer Language Camp held at Elm Street. “In our newcomer class (3-6) the campers are new to the country, while the others have attended schools like Elm Street since the beginning, but need a refresher course over the summer.”

ESOL teachers at each Rome City Schools chose which students they believed would benefit from attending Summer Language Camp. Around 90 elementary students attending language camp at Elm Street, and around 30 upperclassmen attended camp at Rome Middle.

“Here at Elm Street, the kindergarten classes are working on learning about animals, their habitats, etc., where the older kids are working on learning self-confidence in speaking English,” said Callaway.

One of the projects the students at K-6 Summer Language Camp took on was creating self-portraits of themselves with torn sheets of paper. Ivan Cruz-Guzman enjoyed this project the most, as he proudly held his portrait up for everyone to see.

Sarita Brock is the site coordinator for the 7-12 Summer Language Camp, and those students were busy studying seasons in the states.

“In the upper grades, the students are working on their academic English, so the teachers are using oral practice where the students have to speak to each other. Summer Language Camp is important because these students’ only exposure to academic English is in a school setting. When they miss that over the summer, it is hard to start back over in August,” said Wilkinson.

With provided transportation, breakfast and lunch, the students at the district-wide Summer Language Camp had access to the learning activities.

Students at both camps ended their two-weeks with a day of fun on June 13. Campers at Rome Middle School traveled over to Rome High to explore the school and have a swim in the pool.

The students at the elementary school level were visited by several members of the Rome-Floyd Fire Department Station 5 to talk about summer safety, as well as give the students a much-needed day of fun.

“Students learned about community services and community helpers during their time at camp. So, every year we have the fire department come out to talk about fire safety and what to do when they need emergency services,” said Wilkinson.

Linda Patty, educator with the Rome-Floyd County Fire Department, first spoke to campers about how important it is to be careful anytime they are around water. Shortly after, Capt. Frankie Folsom began soaking all students with a hose.

“I just think it is great that the fire department comes out and interacts with our students,” said Wilkinson. “It gives them positive experiences with community services around Rome and lets them interact with key members of our community.”