King's Academy, January 24, 2007 – In the middle of January, sunny smiles and skies beamed in Manja, as nearly all the students who had participated in King’s Academy’s first Summer Enrichment Program (SEP) this past July returned to campus for a weekend of friends and fun.
This winter component of SEP, held from January 18-20, continued a tradition that began last summer, when 51 boys and girls from schools all across Jordan spent two weeks at King’s Academy, taking intensive English and computer courses, playing team sports, and participating in educational and recreational activities. The students and organizers enjoyed their time in July so much, they promised to stay in touch and reconnect for a retreat in the winter.
And so the students, from grades seven through nine, eagerly came back to King’s Academy—many were taller and all were more confident, their English speaking and reading skills improved from continued practice. While much of the program remained the same from the summer, SEP organizers also had a few new tricks up their sleeves. Organizing Fellows Salwa Manaja, Tiffany Norman, and Huoi Trieu called in the help of other Fellows, new staff members, and willing chaperones from Amman to help with the weekend’s activities.
Cesar Pomar, the head of King’s Academy’s Department of World Languages, led Spanish lessons for all of the kids, and by the end of just 30 minutes, students were able to introduce themselves and ask basic questions in Spanish. Emad Manasrah, the school’s athletic program director, organized soccer and basketball tournaments—one team of students handily defeated the staff team in the final round of soccer.
Touch-typing lessons were also a new element of the program, as was a series of outdoor educational activities led by Fellow Natalie Howe, who gave lessons on the water cycle and local ecology. At the end of each long day, after communal meals in the King’s Academy dining hall, the students looked forward to designated quiet reading time, eagerly helping one another with vocabulary and content.
“The winter component of SEP, although only three days long, brought out the best in students and staff alike,” said Ms. Manaja. “Students were more confident using English with the staff and among themselves; they understood better the importance of team work and respected the rules.”
King’s Academy is currently accepting applications for its first class of students, and a handful of the SEP students, are in the process of applying to the school, putting their acquired English language skills to good use. Additionally, the King’s Academy staff is already preparing itself for the SEP to be held again this summer.