Students participated in a variety of activities during summer school, which was in session at Molalla Elementary from July 10-27.

PIONEER PHOTO: KRISTEN WOHLERS - On Monday, July 24, students participated in 'Popcorn and Painting Day' led by representatives from Young Art in Tigard.

Over the last few weeks, approximately 75 students piled in through the doors of Molalla Elementary to attend summer school.

Students engaged in classroom learning, art, field trips and more. They also received breakfast and lunch each day as well as dental screenings during the first week.

PIONEER PHOTO: KRISTEN WOHLERS - Student Jaretzy Ocegueda shows off the t-shirt she made during summer school.

This year, summer school was limited to migrant students, but Blane Lazar, who has run the program for the last seven years, hopes to add more students back in under Title I funding in the future.

Lazar, the high school dean of students, and Alan Willey, Mulino Elementary principal and director of migrant education for the school district, worked together to facilitate this year's summer school program.

But the two didn't go at it alone. Fifteen high school students volunteered to help during the three-week summer session, many of whom attended summer school as students in the past.

"We have 15 high schoolers helping throughout the program— in classrooms, in girl scouts, in kids in the kitchen, with operations," Lazar said. "There are kids everywhere. We have a recent graduate running the office, even."

In addition, teachers, representatives from the Girl Scouts and from the OSU Extension Program helped make this year a success.

State scores were evaluated to help determine how to focus the instruction and best prepare students to go back into the classroom in the fall. But Lazaro also wanted to provide fun and new experiences for the children who attend.

The students got to jump into the pool, go hiking, launch rockets, learn to cook and create art.

Girl Scout representatives Edith Lazero and Molalla High School graduate and former Oregon migrant student of the year Denise Aquino worked together to lead projects for the girls.

"The point is to help empower girls, to help them develop skills that they'll use in the future," Aquino said.

As such, Aquino and Lazero exposed the girls to science and experiments, crafts and other activities. Lazero noted that girls often think of the sciences as a boy thing.

"But that's why we try to encourage the girls to be more intrigued and use critical thinking," Lazero said.

Elena Illescas from OSU Extension instructed the cooking classes each morning, along with her high school helpers Kelsey Childress and Jessica Reynaga. Each year, Illescas selects recipes that are inexpensive, fast to make and nutritious. A SNAP representative joins on Smoothie Tuesdays as a way to give the kids healthy alternatives for snacking.

PIONEER PHOTO: KRISTEN WOHLERS - Elena Illescas from OSU Extension instructed the cooking classes each morning.

"Many times [the kids] say, 'Oh, I don't like that' when we start because it has lots of vegetables," Illescas said. "But then they make it and they're involved, and then they love it."

She continued, "Many times they come back the next day and they say, 'Oh, I made the recipe at home.'"

The children got to take home measuring cups and spoons, a chopping board, the recipes and an apron. All recipes are available on, a website developed by OSU Extension.

After cooking, phonics and rocket launches concluded, summer school ended July 27 with a water day at the park.

Kristen Wohlers
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