A summer educational program mixed imagination and science for a Lorain student developing skills outside of school.
Cairo Rivera, 12, finished fifth-grade at Lorain City Schools’ Helen Steiner Rice Elementary.
In the upcoming school year, Cairo will begin sixth-grade at St. Jude School in Elyria.
But he did not take a break from learning for the summer.
Rivera’s teacher nominated him for the National Youth Leadership Forum: Pathways to STEM in July at Bowling Green State University.
It is a program of the Envision education company, a Virginia-based company that designs career, leadership and technology programs for students.
The residential program, July 21-26, was the lad’s first long time away from home on his own.
Students had their own pass cards to get in and out and meal cards to eat.
There were scheduled sessions for recreation, but the program was intensive, Cairo said.
Students followed a structured agenda for the day, starting with breakfast at 7:45 a.m. and ending with lights out at 9:30 p.m.
After breakfast, the students had lessons in leadership and team building.
The academic curriculum included crime scene investigation, medicine and engineering.
The premise was to learn the subjects and apply those principles to solve a crime on an island where people could not easily get to.
Lessons ranged from building and testing remote-controlled robots to studying physiology, such as making slings and ankle casts.
Instruction included having the students dissect a cow heart.
The blood vessels, chambers and muscle of that organ is similar in structure to a human heart, but larger, Cairo said.
At Bowling Green, the class of participating students came from across the Midwest, not just Lorain.
Cairo had three roommates and he estimated the entire cohort was about 16 students.
“You have to get to know each other,” he said. “After the first day, it was pretty good.”
So far, Cairo said his favorite subject in school is social studies.
“You have to put a lot of thought into it,” he said.“You can’t just straightaway put the answer down just by reading it in the book.
“You’ve got to make sure that that’s the right answer.”
Cairo also enjoys science and hopes to study astronomy.
After the National Youth Leadership Forum, he said he would like to learn more about crime scene investigation as well.
Cairo has learned to play guard and tackle on offense and defense for the Elyria Mini Pioneers youth football league.
The National Youth Leadership Forum caused him to miss a week of practice.
Even so, the time away was time well spent, said his mother, Sheala Rivera.
“I was nervous, but I wanted him to have the experience,” Rivera said. “It was a great investment; I’m really proud of him.”
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