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COMMUNITY COMES TOGETHER OFFERING
KIDS BEST SUMMER PROGRAM EVER
July 8, 2017
 
 
The Cedar Key community, pulled together by Cedar Key Vice-Mayor Sue Colson, took incredibly fine care of one hundred Cedar Key area kids this summer for five weeks, from June 12 to July 15, from 7 am to 4 pm, Mondays through Thursdays.  A multi-aged lot were the one hundred:  pre-kindergartners through high school ninth graders attended.
 
The City of Cedar Key provided basic necessary dollars; the Cedar Key Aquaculture Association’s Rosie Cantwell and Sue and Russ Colson cooked for and fed the hundred grits, corn, clams, shrimp, and more; charter boat captains provided a fishing day for all students; Levy County Migrant Program offered funds and next year will offer a teacher or two; devoted Cedar Key School staff worked for nearly no pay to make the program work well.
 

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In charge were Cedar Key School staff Telicia Winfield, ably assisted by her husband, Mrs. Patti Shewey, James Custer, and Cedar Key Police Department’s Officer Perry.
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Officer Perry noted, “This is the most organized summer program yet.  I’ve been assisting for five years and this year is the best.  Every single day, except one, students have enjoyed a learning event of some sort:   a guest speaker, a special lunch, a field trip.” He further noted, “Being able to get into an air-conditioned space during the day has been great.”
 
SCHOOL BASED LOCATION
Best of all, this year, thanks to Principal Josh Slemp’s leadership, students were based in the school’s air conditioned, auditorium.  In past years, the Summer Program has been housed in a very much appreciated but not as perfect a place.   The non-air-conditioned gymnasium, though huge was, after all, not air-conditioned. The Cedar Key Community Center, wonderfully air-conditioned, required dismantling instructional furniture, supplies, projects, and materials for weekend use by others.
 
This school auditorium allowed students their own places to sit, study, store their personal items, and work.  This venue afforded teachers the ability to display student projects, art work, ongoing assignments, and curriculum-based bulletin boards that reinforce learning.
 
While based in the auditorium, students and teachers made full use of the gymnasium, playgrounds, and outside areas as well.  Breaks and periods in the auditorium made for healthier, happier, non-overheated kids….not to mention adults.
 
HEALTHY ACTIVITIES GALORE
Each week, the Summer Program plans an active field trip for the students.  The Get Air Trampoline Park had kids jumping in the air.  Roller skating had them racing around in circles.  Chuck E. Cheese saw them shooting hoops. 
 

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Best of all was the two-day water slide experience on the field at the school.  Two huge air-filled structures were on campus: one for the littler kids to jump in; the other for the larger ones to slide down.  “Nothing could be more fun than this,” said one fifth grader to the News.  “It’s hot this summer; this slide beats the heat!”
 

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CHARTER FISHERMEN TAKE KIDS OUT TO FISH
Coordinated by Carl Robinson, of Robinson’s Seafood, seven local charter fishing boats will take the hindered youngsters fishing.   Initially planned for the older students, nothing would do but that every student have the opportunity.  Consequently, the seven captains will take two separate trips to accommodate the groups. 
 
These captains donate their time, gas, and expertise for these students. 

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DRIVE THROUGH FLORIDA
The Florida Department of Agriculture Consumer Services and the Florida Agriculture in the Classroom-produced booklet Drive through Florida: Aquaculture and Seafood, a Florida Agriculture Literacy Day Book provided the basic structure to the five-week program. 
 
The teachers’ and Colson’s intent is to have students learn about the seafoods they eat and the environs in which they are produced.  Students ate alligator, clams, sturgeon, shrimp, blue crab, and mullet. 
With each seafood they learned about, students enjoyed an expert guest speaker.  Bud Collins spoke about blue crabs; Leslie Sturmer spoke about clams; Carl Robinson spoke about mullet.
 
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