A showcase of skills

What do origami, Legos and fondant have in common? They are classes kids can enroll in this year at the Talents Academy. The first session starts June 3 at Marshall Middle School.

One class even has a kid for an instructor. Garret Hoff, 12, assisted by his mother, Cheryl, will teach “Origami for Kids (Grades 1-4).” Fascinated with origami since he was in kindergarten, last summer Hoff attended the 2012 OrigamiUSA convention in New York City where he further honed his paper-folding skills.

The origami class is just one of the classes Marshall area children can attend.

“Last year we had over 200 participants,” said Doug Goodmund, assistant director of Marshall Community Services. “We have about 150 signed up so far.”

The Talents Academy courses were listed in the Marshall Community Services summer brochure, and a Talents Academy pamphlet was sent out to area schools as well as available online.

Goodmund said the courses are “hands on, fun, involve problem solving, science, arts and technology.”

Three courses are full already – “Sweet Treats” with Manjit Harrison, “Embellishment Fun” with Torri McKinney and “Crazy Lego Contraptions” with Steve Harrison.

While the “Sweet Treats” class is closed, there are other cooking classes taught by Manjit Harrison that are open. “Fun with Fondant 1 (Grades 1-4)” and “Pastry Chefs (Grades 5-8)” will be offered in session II which is June 10-14.

The Pastry Chefs is new this year, Harrison said.

“We’ll make pie pops and cream puffs,” she said.

Pie pops are mini apple pies on a stick.

Harrison bakes using choux pastry, which is a French-style pastry dough.

While creating something like a cream puff may seem difficult, Harrison said, “unless you make use of the opportunity to learn, you never know if you can do it.”

McKinney’s “Embellishment Fun” class is full, but her “Working with Seed Beads (Grades 6-8)” still has openings.

McKinney will teach a number of different stitches including the peyote, which is used by “traditional Native American cultures,” she said. “You can attach it to dresses or belts, hair ornaments.”

She also uses the branching stitch, which “is a type of stitch where you place one bead after another and it looks like trees branching out,” she said. “We use different textile techniques, colors and shapes.”

McKinney said these stitches can be added to “chokers or bracelets, jeans, shoes, flip-flops. The applications are limited by your imagination.”

Another interesting and fun class for children is “Scrapbook My School Year (Grades 5-8)” with Karen Yant. Children will bring their own albums, and Yant will provide plastic sheets, paper and embellishments plus plenty of ideas and tips. Students may want to preserve items from a previous school year or set up a book for the upcoming year.

“I’ll help with ideas, layouts, help with any journaling the child may want to do,” Yant said. She will also show how to scrapbook using the computer and show how to resize photos so they will match the space needed.

“I’ll show them what it could look like,” she said.

New this year are two classes taught by Marshall High School graduates. Emilirose Rasmusson will teach “Fun with iPad 2s (Grades 1-4).” Students can learn how they work, their capabilities and functions. MCS will provide the iPads for class use.

The other MHS alum is Jenna Surprenant, who participated in speech at Kansas State and was a national speech champion in 2011. She is helming “Finding Your Voice: An Exploration of Public Speaking.”

Goodmund said in putting together this year’s program he realized that it was in 1998 that the first summer Talent’s Academy was introduced.

“It’s been very successful for 15 years,” he said.