‘Not That Bad,’ Insists Winner of Study Challenge

Online Learning Program Keeps Students’ Skills Fresh

Isabella Wierzbicki, left, and Emily Hall celebrate their drawing prizes at the Knights Challenge celebration

Not toomany students spend time studying over the summer, but Caylee Hart put in 89 hours’ worth.

The Kenowa Hills Middle School eighth-grader compiled 5,340 minutes of study in an online math and reading program designed to help students retain their skills over the summer. That won her recognition as the most studious student in the Knights Challenge, as well as a $50 gift certificate to Toys R Us.

“It feels like a great accomplishment,” Caylee said during a celebration event at the 3 Mile Project recreation center. “I’m pretty proud.”

She was among students who qualified for gift drawings by compiling 1,500 or more minutes in the Compass Learning Odyssey program. Those with 1,000-plus were invited to the celebration.

It’s the second summer Kenowa offered the program to its K-8 students.

Emily Hall, a Central Elementary third-grader, hit the jackpot with a $100 gift certificate. She finished second in the Knights Challenge with 62 study hours by putting in five hours a week. Emily’s mother said she was “super proud” of her daughter’s discipline.

“I always say (to her), ‘I don’t want you to have soggy-brain syndrome in the summer, so I’ve got to keep you going,’” Chris Hall said. “I just wanted to keep her challenged.”

Lessons were customized based on students’ test scores, said Cindy Ruscett, Kenowa Hills’ coordinator of assessment and achievement.

“The goal is you don’t lose any of your reading and math scores over the summer,” Ruscett said. “And if you are struggling, this is an opportunity to make up for lost time.”

Caylee said she tried to put in two hours every day despite the distractions of summer.

“I tried to get it out of the way before I did anything else,” said Caylee, who plays violin in orchestra and wants to study animation in college. Along the way, she picked up information about the history of China and other subjects.

“It wasn’t that bad,” she insisted. “I learned about a lot of interesting things.”

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Compass Learning Odyssey

Charles Honey
Charles Honey is a freelance writer and former columnist for The Grand Rapids Press/ MLive.com. As a reporter for The Press from 1985 to 2009, his beats included Grand Rapids Public Schools, local colleges and education issues. Honey served as editor of The Press’ award-winning Religion section for 15 years. His freelance articles have appeared in Christianity Today magazine, Religion News Service and the Aquinas College alumni magazine. Read Charles' full bio.

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