Children study underwater life at 'Youth University'

By Curt Yeomans


A school of fish hangs on a wall in Clayton State University's Harry S. Downs Center for Continuing Education, but the fish are the product of a school of a different kind - a school of 24 local children who are enrolled in CSU's "Youth University."

The second session of "Youth University" began Monday with an underwater theme, and it will continue through July 24. A previous session, that was held in June, with an archaeological theme, concluded on June 26.

Both sessions of the summer camp are structured like school, in that the participating children go to six classes a day, and study science, social studies, math, reading, music, drama, and art. Even though the subject matters are varied, all of Youth University's activities are geared toward the underwater theme, according to program coordinator, Seth Davis.

"What we try to do is keep them intellectually challenged during the summer," Davis said "We introduce some of the topics they may encounter in school next year."

The program draws children and instructors from across the Southern Crescent, including Clayton and Henry counties, Davis said. So far, the youths have made the school of paper-plate fish that are thumb-tacked to the wall of their art classroom, as well stuffed-paper sea creatures, such as jellyfish and sharks.

"I've enjoyed the arts and crafts because we've made fish and underwater animals," said Hampton resident, Michael White, 7. "Sometimes, we cut out shapes of animals and give it details, such as eyes. Then you stuff it with paper, and then, it becomes a real animal, like the ones under the sea."

Several of the children said that, after only three days, the current session of Youth University has already encouraged them to consider careers as deep-sea divers.

"It seems like fun, because you get to dive under water," said Corvelle Taylor, 10, of Jonesboro.

"I want to be a scuba diver, because I like seeing all of the different types of fish that are under the water," said Stockbridge resident, Amber Montgomery, 8.