ALAPOCAS – As the blazing heat took over in July, the 56 girls who attend Serviam Academy for Girls were deep into back-to-school mode. On a late July afternoon, their summer program took them to Axalta Coating Systems at the Dupont Experimental Station for their final field trip.
Axalta manufactures and markets paint for commercial vehicles and industrial coating systems. Serviam president Peggy Prevoznik Heins said the girls were able to learn about the materials that go into paint, color-matching and other aspects of its production.
“STEM is an important part of the Serviam education, so Axalta invited us in to see how they make paints and all that comes into it,” Heins said. “They’re learning all about what it means to be a chemist and an engineer.”
The summer program, which began on July 5, is an important part of the school, she added.
“A good portion of our kids are brand new. So what happens is they learn the culture, they learn the experience of Serviam. They kind of learn to understand what it means to be a Serviam girl,” Heins said.
The days are a mix of academics and activities. Rachel Grimes, a physical education teacher, said the curriculum included programs entitled “Just Be” and “Girls Can Do Anything,” among others. The girls learned life skills, athletics, arts, music and dance.
“During the summer they want to be around their friends, they want to be doing stuff. This is nice because they get to still be with their friends but then they’re doing something that they wouldn’t get to do if they were hanging out at home,” Grimes said.
Seventh-grade student Lauryn Wilkerson said one of the projects involved the girls talking about themselves and writing an autobiography. She said she learned, “I’m a big smiler.”
“I like the stuff that we’ve been doing. In the afternoon we have three programs that we do. We have different ones,” she added.
Eighth-grader Kyasia Barrineau said the trip to Axalta was right up her alley because “I like mixing chemicals.” She recalled working at her house recently when she mixed some cleaning supplies that probably shouldn’t have been. Kyasia quickly did some research online to figure out how to get rid of the noxious smell.
The summer program also included an evening program on July 28 that was like a tour around the world. Each grade was given a continent, and within the grade, smaller groups were assigned individual countries and told to learn as much about them as they could. That included food, culture, politics, economics and other aspects.
The eighth grade was given Oceania, and Tiffany Lynch-Faulkner’s group learned about Guam. That country’s size surprised Tiffany.
“Compared to the United States, we found that four Washington, D.C.s, could fit in Guam,” she said.