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Energy Express Program Returning to Ohio County

Photo Provided Students enjoy a past session of Energy Express, a summer education program coordinated by the West Virginia University Extension Service.

The Energy Express summer education program is returning to Ohio County, creating learning opportunities for both young school students and the student mentors who teach them.

Coordinated by the West Virginia University Extension Service, Energy Express is a six-week summer program for rising students in grades 1-4.

Mentors start their training on June 10, while the first day for students is June 21. The program extends through July 30. Participating students will be in class from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. each weekday through that time.

Following a school year of learning interrupted by a pandemic, Energy Express programs this year will concentrate on providing a “print-rich environment filled with fun activities focused on reading, writing, art, drama,and games,” according to organizers.

As many as 80 students will be able to participate, and classes will take place at two locations — Laughlin Chapel in downtown Wheeling, and The House of the Carpenter on Wheeling Island.

This year marks the 27th year in West Virginia for Energy Express, though it has been absent from Ohio County since 2012, according to Lewis Honaker, agent overseeing 4-H Youth Development with the WVU Extension Service.

Energy Express is partially funded by Americorps.

Students may spend time this summer having fun on a sliding board. But a “summer slide” typically happens during the season for things they’ve learned the year before as they move on to the next grade.

The pandemic during the past school year forced school systems, students and their families to adapt to virtual learning, and there may be more forgetting this year, according to Honaker.

“Some families adapted well, while some didn’t,” he said. “There is a need for programs like these that address the summer slide. The children are going to need more attention.”

Students attending Madison, Ritchie, Woodsdale and Elm Grove elementaries already have been provided with applications to attend Energy Express, and transportation is available for students living in these neighborhoods, according to Honaker.

The program is open to all Ohio County students, but there will be no buses traveling to other school areas, he said. Those interested should contact the Ohio County WVU Extension Service at 304-234-3673.

Energy Express also is seeking to hire 10 mentors, who will each teach a class of no more than eight children.

“They will essentially run a mini-classroom for six weeks, and do that under the supervision of a certified teacher,” Honaker said. “We will also have a site supervisor, and a community coordinator to bring in volunteers. They will read to kids, help with artwork and help the mentor in whatever capacity they need.”

Ohio County has been approved to have up to 80 students combined at the two sites, but this depends on the number of mentor positions that are filled.

The program is at present looking to hire mentors and community coordinators, and the deadline to apply for these positions is May 14.

Those interested in applying should visit https://extension.wvu.edu/youth-family/youth-education/energy-express/get-involved, or call the Ohio County WVU Extension Service at 304-234-3673.


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