Kids go to college

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 28, 2006

By Kari Lucin, staff writer

Riverland Community College had an unusual class this week &045; the students were a little bit shorter than the usual college kids, and a little bit more hyper.

They were also a lot younger.

Children in fourth, fifth and sixth grade headed to Riverland Community College this week as part of Kids’ College, a program designed to help kids experience advanced classes in a fun, creative setting.

&8220;Welcome to college, here’s your ramen,&8221; said Mark McGivern, 11.

McGivern usually goes to Lakeview Elementary School, but Monday he and 13 other kids started two classes at Riverland, Theatre Camp and Cartooning and Animation.

The classes each lasted about an hour and a half, like regular college classes, though there was quite a bit more moving around and active learning.

In Theatre Camp, kids worked on creative prop-making, set design, working together and of course, acting. They put on three short plays, including &8220;Snow White.&8221;

&8220;Today we got to make our props, and we even got to use the lights a lot,&8221; McGivern said.

Instructor Pat Rasmussen, who usually teaches business-related classes at Riverland and serves as artistic director of the Community Theatre, was surprised at how far the kids got and how they incorporated their own ideas into the plays.

&8220;I sort of had the syllabus set up, and they took it further,&8221; Rasmussen said. &8220;They figured out how to do the lightning and thunder on their own. They sort of take over, they get excited because it’s theirs.&8221;

In Cartooning and Animation, kids spent the first few days learning how to draw cartoon animals and people before they moved on to learning how to animate them, using two-stage animation and then flip-books.

Anna Anderson, 10, enjoyed her college experience, especially doing the animation and learning how to draw better than she used to. She also liked being the wicked queen in Snow White.

Though no actual ramen noodles &045; a staple of the college diet &045; were served, Anderson did get to give out just one supposedly poisoned apple.

Like most of the other props the kids made, it was made out of paper.