Innovative Classrooms, Camps and Summer Programs – July 2014


Students at St. Gregory's in Zelienople

Students at St. Gregory’s in Zelienople

By Marianne Reid Anderson

As our series on innovations in our areas schools, summer camps and summer programs, we are proud to bring you the latest goings-on in our area’s schools, summer camps and programs that are incredible offerings for our area’s young people. We also applaud the amazing work of the educators in our area.

Chatham University – The state-of-the-art Eden Hall Campus of Chatham University in Pine-Richland is now open and devoted to sustainability. It is home to the Chatham’s Falk School of Sustainability and is even offering a new bachelors degree in sustainability. Part of the campus includes the extraordinary Hilda M. Willis Amphitheater which is carved directly into the surrounding landscape, offering stunning views and a one-of-a-kind, intimate outdoor performance space for musical, theatrical, and cultural performances. Events include music of all genres of bluegrass, classical, and kids music; movies from the latest releases, Oscar winners, documentaries, and movies for kids with “movies under the stars”; theater with a new take on a kids puppet show and a modern take on Shakespeare; farm-to-table to mix and mingle while you learn about sustainable agriculture and experience the best in locally grown and sourced food and drinks; plus workshops that showcase how residents can live a healthier, greener life. To learn more about this innovative new campus in Pine-Richland, visit To learn more about the summer series of events and performances, go to

Community College of Allegheny County – A whole array of new programs are being offered this fall, including the Mechatronics Technology program and the Land Administration program. The Mechatronics program is being offered in both associate degree and certificate options. Mechatronics is a relatively new engineering field that integrates mechanical and electronic components with hydraulics, pneumatics and computer controls in the manufacture of industrial products. Students may specialize in Robotics and Automation, Instrumentation and Process Controls or Supply Chain Technology. The Land Administration certificate program, developed in cooperation with EQT Corporation, is designed for students with an associate degree and who want a career in the region’s fast growing natural gas and oil industry. The primary role of land administration employees is to protect an energy company’s oil and gas assets, which include oil and gas leases, pipeline rights-of-way and natural gas and/or oil wells. Individuals interested in either enrolling or obtaining more information should call (724) 788-7500 or visit  

Saint Alexis – Two weeks of Pre-K Summer Camp at Saint Alexis is full of fun, art and science. The first week is Carnival of Colors and the second week is Pint-Size Science. The children are encourage to investigate and explore the miraculous world around them through guided projects and experiments. For example, one day in Pint-Size Science, students will investigate the phenomena of objects that sink or float and play with a cornstarch mixture known as oobleck where things can move across but if they stay they sink. The Carnival of Colors is July 21-25 and Pint-Size Science is July 28 to August 1st. To learn more, schedule a tour or to enroll, go to or call (724) 935-3940. 

Saint Alphonsus School – St. Alphonsus science students develop science projects where they research background information, formulate a hypothesis, develop an experiment, collect and analyze data, and form a conclusion.  They then prepare and presented their projects at 80th Annual Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science (PJAS) State Competition. At the competition, students present their scientific findings to a panel of judges during oral presentations and a question and answer period.  Projects are evaluated on criteria including scientific thought, experimental methods, analytical approach, and presentation. Nineteen seventh and eighth grade students participated and won 15 first place awards and four second place awards. The competition featured presentations from approximately 3,000 of the best and brightest middle and high school science students from across the state. To qualify for the state competition, students must earn a first-place at one of 13 regional competitions that occurred earlier in the year.  To learn more about St. Alphonsus and their incredible teaching, go to

If you are offering an innovative program for the coming school year, be sure and be featured in our August’s special back-to-school issue, contact us by emailing or calling 724-940-2444.