By Chris Kieffer
TUPELO – Lilli McGraw applied purple and yellow paint on Monday morning to a coffee mug she was making out of clay.
The rising second-grader at Joyner Elementary School created the ceramic cup as part of the Tupelo Public School District’s annual Camp Opportunity.
“It is really fun, the art we do, making cups and bowls out of clay,” said Lilli, 7. “It is really fun because there is a lot of arts stuff to do.”
She is attending “Clay Play,” one of five different sessions to be offered this week at Lawndale Elementary School. Camp Opportunity began last week and continues through June 27. Spots are still available in several of the 11 week-long sessions to be held during the next two weeks.
“It has been great,” said Camp Director Teresa Gregory. “The kids are enjoying it, and we have had a lot of hands-on activities.”
Among Monday’s highlights was the visit of Tennessee textile artist Breanna Kincaid, who helped the campers attending the “Wearable Art” session. She taught them an ancient process of fabric making, as they created three-dimensional flowers from un-spun wool using only their hands, soap and water.
“I thought it was cool because you got to experiment with felt and you got to see how the process works,” said Macie Graves, 11, a rising sixth-grader. “I’ve never done that before, and it was challenging.”
Other sessions this week focus on Crime Scene Investigations, robotics and fitness. In the CSI camp, students will extract DNA from strawberries and learn to analyze fingerprints and handwriting.
“They get a lot of critical thinking and creative thinking and problem solving,” Gregory said.
Upcoming camps topics include drama, science, chess and career exploration, among others.
TPSD administrative assistant Sylvia Teasley, who also helps with the camp, noted that students can work in small groups and delve into a specific topic.
“My favorite part of the camp is letting us have a choice in what we do instead of teachers telling us what activities to do,” said Emily Campbell, 10, a rising fifth-grader at Lawndale.