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College Hosted Annual Bright Futures Camp

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Posted on Monday, June 28, 2010

Westminster College hosted the fifth annual Bright Futures Camp for students from Campbell (Ohio) Memorial High School June 16-25.

The 10-day residential academic and performing arts program is funded by The Marion G. Resch Foundation in Youngstown, Ohio, and administered through Westminster's Drinko Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning.

The Drinko Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning was created to enrich undergraduate education at Westminster through advancing world-class teaching as well as by participating in collaborations that address community and regional needs including strengthening K-12 education.

Thirty-four students from grades eight-12 are encouraged to achieve high academic marks as well as to succeed in the performing arts. They work with their peers, Campbell teachers, and Westminster faculty, staff, and students to research and create presentations on issues they identify as among the most important influences on a student's performance in school.

The camp focuses on enhancing academic skills, assisting in educational development and career readiness, and preparation for higher education through enrichment activities in music, theatre, writing, and art. The camp concluded with a presentation to family, friends, and the public in Westminster's Orr Auditorium.

Westminster faculty and staff involved with the camp included: Dr. Patrick Krantz, associate professor of education and director of the Drinko Center; Dr. Scott Mackenzie, associate professor of theatre; Dr. Suzanne Prestien, associate professor of English and public relations; John Gresh, adjunct faculty in theatre; and Paula Ferguson, Orr stage manager.

Campbell Memorial High School graduates and current Westminster students on the production crew included: junior broadcast communications major Tiffany Burson, who is in her third year assisting with the camp and a daughter of Joyce Schell; and incoming freshman accounting and economics major Joey Cappitte, a son of Steven and Lorraine Cappitte.

Sophomore public relations major Kelly Matune, a daughter of Frank and Doreen Matune of Hermitage and graduate of Kennedy Catholic High School, was a counselor.

Westminster graduates working with the camp included: counselor Kauleen Cloutier '05 and Sarah Pritchard '08, a student in Westminster's Graduate Program. Campbell teacher Nora Songer, who completed Westminster's certification program, was part of the camp staff.

This year's Bright Futures program included guest artists Abbey Alter, choreographer/movement specialist and performance director, and James Willaman, musician/composer.

Alter is a co-founder of The Walnut Street Lodge, an arts, health, and community center in Sharon that offers dance, theatre, yoga, nutrition counseling, and cooking classes, and is home to The Walnut Lodge Players. After developing her own undergraduate program, the art and science of the human body, at The Pennsylvania State University, Alter earned her master's in choreography and performance, adding an in-depth study of yoga and its application to dance. She joined The Ballet Theater of the Virgin Islands as choreographer and won numerous awards for her work before leaving the islands in the wake of hurricane Hugo.

Willaman, a 2006 Westminster graduate and self-taught guitarist, formed his first band at 15; performed in blues/rock groups; and helped form Water, a regional hard rock group. He joined The Walnut Lodge Players and scored a variety of productions. He worked with schools and non-profit agencies in Western Pennsylvania conducting artist residencies for the Pennsylvania Council of the Arts. Willaman is touring with Beatles Tribute Band, portraying George Harrison, and is a fellowship student at the University of Wisconsin.

Contact Krantz at (724) 946-7181 or e-mail for additional information.