It was show-and-tell time on Friday for students participating in Oregon State University’s Outside the Box precollege program, and so 13-year-old Brad Stein of Corvallis was showing off the details of a game he designed on a small laptop computer.
His parents were impressed by the work of the Franklin School student: In fact, his mother, Brenda, said Brad is entertaining thoughts of pursuing a career in creating computer games.
But the computer game class wasn’t Brad’s favorite in the classes he took during the program’s two-week run.
“I think my favorite class was ‘On the Air,’ where we had our own radio show and got to see how radio runs,” he said. “I also liked acting class. We learned how to act and we learned you need volume, pitch and rhythm in order to catch people’s attention.”
Brad was one of about 85 high-achieving students from throughout the region who participated in the program, in which students can choose from about 20 courses ranging from acting to Lego robotics. The program wrapped up with Friday’s showcase presentations, for parents and others.
Students come from Corvallis and surrounding cities, including Albany, Lebanon and Lincoln City, said Tamara Benning, the program coordinator. She said students eligible for the program must meet certain criteria that identify them as high-ability. Each student takes four courses during the two weeks.
Tuition for the two-week program was $440, plus additional costs for certain courses that required extra materials or lab fees. Outside the Box is funded through student fees and donations.
It’s one of three similar programs OSU offers to students, and those programs also wrapped up on Friday. Adventures in Learning attracted 108 fifth- and sixth-graders, and Expeditions had 150 third- and fourth-graders.
The idea is to give students who have shown high potential in academic areas an idea of instruction in a higher education atmosphere, and OSU gets a chance to show what it can offer to students likely to be choosing a college in a few years.
Benning said it is not uncommon for students to do the programs multiple times. “There have been some kids who have gone through all three camps.”
In fact, Brenda Stein said she expects her son to return to the program next summer.
“I think he really enjoyed it,” she said. “It’s really good for all these kids to get together.”
And Brad said he had enjoyed the program enough to suggest it to friends. “There are so many places that have classes, they’re bound to have one of your interests,” he said.
Another student from Franklin School, eighth-grader Jordan Holdaway, 13, also had her family at Friday’s showcase. Her TekPet panda, Oreo, was on display at the electronic pet table.
“It was an arts and crafts project. I used a computer to program it,” Holdaway said. “I liked making the TekPet; that was my favorite class. I liked meeting people and learned a lot of new things.”