DUNEDIN, Fla. — DUNEDIN, Fla. — For the first time, Pinellas County Schools offered a summer camp geared at Career Exploration — focusing on architecture, construction, robotics and welding. Each day, students focus on one of those areas, learning all the basics.
The camp is for incoming 6th through 9th graders, and one of the teachers says it’s given students an opportunity to try out things they maybe never would have even considered.
“There’s definitely been some students who’ve come through here this week that it’s really changed their perspective on what they can and can’t do, maybe it’s opened up some doors, so it’s been a very good experience for me and for them,” said Brandon Szymanski, construction trades teacher.
It was only day two of Career Exploration camp, and already, kids were getting underway with projects.
“I did just do architecture yesterday, and that was fun. I got to make my own house,” said Max Fox-Andrew, who’s going into sixth grade.
“I’m making a sword. I’m going to try to make something like this. People have tried to make this design, and I’m going to try to make it like this so I can add it to my sword collection,” said Fox-Andrew.
While Fox-Andrew is an accomplished martial artist and competes in weaponry, Szymanski says the sword is popular among students.
“A lot of them want to make swords and shields, just being a kid and having fun, stuff you can’t really find anywhere else,” he said.
“Right now, I am drawing the design on this piece of wood so then when it’s ready, I can cut it out individually to have pieces I can put together with glue and stuff like that,” said Fox-Andrew as he explains how this particular sword stuck out to him because of the challenge.
“I heard that people had tried to make this design before and they made a sword, but it hasn’t looked like this, so I’m determined to make it look similar, if not exact, to this,” he shared.
It’s ambitious, considering Fox-Andrew hasn’t ever made anything out of wood. In fact, he usually spends his free time acting.
“I do movies, TV shows, commercials, actually one of my movies is coming out Aug. 5. I’m going to the movie premiere for it, the movie Spider-Man: Lotus.”
But that was the appeal of this camp.
“When they told me there was going to be welding, robotics, architecture and stuff like that I was really excited because I’ve never done anything like that and I was like, ‘Whoa!’” he said.
For safety, Szymanski cuts the wood pieces for Fox-Andrew with the saw, and after some finishing touches, Fox-Andrew’s sword is almost ready for battle, and he has a whole new set of skills to explore.
Pinellas County Schools’ administrators say this camp also gives middle school students a preview of things they can pursue in high school.
The district has special programs and classes in each area.