ROCK SPRINGS — Four Rock Springs Junior High Students were selected to attend the 2021 University of Wyoming Windy Ridge Foundation Astro Camp this summer.
The four students were all surprised to have been chosen, since there are only around 24 spots available for students from Colorado, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wyoming to apply for.
According to a press release from UW, “This camp provides a great opportunity for students to increase their mathematics, science, engineering, technology and communication skills.”
Those attending the camp are eighth-grade students Eli Wall, Alexander Croft, Nevaeh Bryant, and Lincoln Smith. All of these students had to complete an application, submit a copy of their report card, write a 250-word essay on why they wanted to attend the camp, and obtain at least two letters of recommendation. All of the students found out about the camp through Sweetwater County School District No. 1’s ParentSquare app.
“I specifically picked my science teacher and language arts teacher,” Croft said about obtaining letters of recommendation.
Both Wall and Bryant asked their math and science teachers for recommendations because math and science are part of the camps’ focus.
“I chose my math teacher Mrs. (Jessica) Dreben because she has helped me to learn, grow, and improve. She also made me feel appreciated and she helped me understand what I am capable of doing,” Smith said. “My other teacher was Mr. (Stephen) Gerard. I chose him because he was very helpful and he made it easy to learn and created a safe class environment.”
As for writing the essay, the students all took different approaches, Wall said he stayed up for three nights working on his. He wanted to make sure he had exactly 250 words and he was selective with which words he used. Wall said he has applied for other camps or programs in the past and hadn’t always been successful, so he wanted to do his best.
“I put a lot of work into it,” Wall said.
Once Wall and Bryant had their essays written, they followed up with their teachers to make sure they had completed the letters of recommendation.
Croft took a more laid back approach. “I wanted to be patient. Once I finished the essay, it was out of my control.”
The students will attend the camp at the UW campus from July 11-17. They will stay in the dorm rooms while at the camp. During the camp, students will participate in “educational and recreational activities including telescope building and viewing, analysis of digital astronomical images, life science laboratories, rocket building, star gazing, a hike in the Snowy Range, and more,” the press release states.
Wall said he was “super excited” to use a telescope, but he is also looking forward to hiking in the Snowy Range.
Both Croft and Bryant are glad to be attending the camp with other students they know. Bryant said she was a little scared about attending the camp by herself, but now that she knows other students who are going, she’s more excited.
Neither Smith and Wall were nervous about the camp, but are excited to participate in all of the fun activities and meet other students.
“I like meeting new people,” Wall said.
Smith is also looking forward to making new friends and spending time with his current friends at the camp.
“I am looking forward to learning more about stars, black holes, and planets because I want to be an astrophysicist when I get older,” Smith said.
With all of the activities planned, the students are all looking forward to the camp.
“It’s going to be fun. That’s for sure,” Croft said.