Mini-mester Creates Big Excitement

Sign-ups for the second annual Middle School Mini-mester are underway! Mini-mester is a week-long program that focuses on interactive learning outside of the typical classroom setting. The curriculum is designed by faculty members who oversee the programs. This year, students in grades 7th - 9th have the option to choose from 15 different courses - three more than what was offered in its inaugural year - that appeal to varying interests. Also new this year is this addition of courses for 9th grade students.

Programs for the 2018 Mini-mester include: 
  • Becoming Paul Revere - Understanding the science behind - and working with - semi-precious metals, students will explore the art of forging.
  • Beyond the Couch - Where Can a Psychology Degree Take You? - Exploring the different career paths that can be reached with a psychology degree is a highlight in this course; students will also learn more about the brain and behavioral patterns.
  • Board Games for the Win! - Friendly competition is welcomed during this weeklong activity where students will learn different problem-solving techniques and learn to both play and create board games.
  • Build a Better City - Get to the heart of what puts Norfolk at the top of the list of America's favorite cities. This program will be spent visiting different places and talking to the movers and shakers of Norfolk before culminating with group plans to improve our own community.
  • Even MacGyver Had to Start Somewhere - This program for 9th graders will have participants venturing off campus daily in order to understand the basics in construction, eletrical, plumbing, and small engine repair.
  • From the Farm to the Table: Gardening, Cooking, and Eating in Hampton Roads - Farms and food are central to the flourishing restaurant scene in our neighborhoods, and this program will give students a first-hand look at how they partner together to create successful, delicious meals.
  • Laser Cutter - Creating intricate desgins with the assistance of a laser cutter, students will learn how to build a series of projects through an iterative design process.
  • Livestrong - Students in 8th and 9th grade are invited to learn about non-profits such as LIVESTRONG, and will take time to meet with doctors who specialize in treating cancer patients. Trips to the local YMCA and Richmond to visit a camp for children whose parent has cancer are also on the agenda.
  • Man-Powered Traverse of Virginia by Water, Walking, and Wheels - A cousin to planes, trains, and automobiles, this program will explore what the student body is capable of by having students kayak, bike, and hike around the area. 
  • Myth Mania - Myth, legend, and lore will be put under a microscope, as participants learn about the origins and structures of myths from across the globe. 
  • Not-So-Basic Photography - Move beyond the cell phone and learn the basics of what makes a frame-worthy photograph.
  • Rockets: To Infinity and Beyond! - Aeronautical creativity and discovery are encouraged in this Buzz Lightyear-approved course. Engineering finesse will be on full display as students aim to create the perfect rocket.
  • Social Change Through Sport - A blend of cultural immersion and a service project is the foundation for this program. Participants will learn how sports bridge connections and go out into the (literal) sports field to build a new soccer filed for refugees.
  • Sculptures, Scalpels, and Scopes, Oh My! - A weeklong mentorship-style program from some of the area's best physicians will give students a chance to develop or further their interest in medicine. 
  • Weird Music - No musical ability necessary in this course! Participants will have the opportunity to learn about far-out arrangements from one of the most innovative composers of the 20th and 21st centuries before having the chance to compose their own music. 
"Mini-mester is about the student being the explorer," said Mrs. Trish Hopkins, assistant director of the Middle School. "Our students have this amazing selection of courses with faculty who feel passionately about sharing new and different experiences with students, and through these courses students begin to map out who they are as students, as learners, and as people. We like to think that Mini-mester sets students on a path, a path of self-discovery."

Mini-mester begins during the afternoon of Wednesday, May 30, and runs through Wednesday, June 6.