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Gaining Ground summer showcase fosters art appreciation, literacy

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Posted at 3:11 PM, Jun 18, 2024

TULSA, Okla. — The Gaining Ground summer camp showcase kicked off June 18 at Tulsa's historic Big Ten Ballroom.

Students from five Tulsa Public Schools shared their learning and love of arts with the community.

Tiny feet filled big shoes at the iconic venue. A group of young students dressed in cowboy and cowgirl attire showed their love of art through dance. The performance was the finale to Gaining Ground Literacy’s summer camp.

The young minds dancing gained much confidence after they spent the last three weeks immersed in art and literacy.

"It's been amazing,” Lisa Shotts with Gaining Ground said. “Kids got to ice skate and they explored outdoor classrooms, they went to discovery lab, they worked with hip hop artists, they worked with architects this summer -- all to develop these amazing skills and to come here and present their learning."

That goes for students Makai Wise and Chardiana Swilley.

“Camp is really fun, especially with Rap 101,” Wise said.

These students have been working on showcasing their best work using whatever form of art speaks to them, whether its architecture, visual art or performing art.

Teachers implement the program and foster a love of learning and literacy in each classroom.

“As we all know, kids can lose so many skills over the summer and that accumulates to about a three-year learning loss by the time they are in sixth grade, so having these rich exciting programs for kids is crucial to their learning,” Shotts said.

Students said the camp not only helped them grow their learning skills, but it also gave them a sense of accomplishment personally.

“It made me be more open and outspoken and stuff because I'm a person that really doesn’t talk a lot, so it made me be more open,” Swilley said.

From paintings to clay sculptures, students love, and appreciation of art was displayed for all to see. It was a perfect ending to a camp meant to develop readers, thinkers and leaders.

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