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There is still time to register for HPU’s Summer Scholars and Young Scholars programs

By Kaleigh Tankersley, HPU junior

BROWNWOOD – June 28, 2013 – Howard Payne University will host its annual Summer Scholars and Young Scholars programs July 15-19 from 9 a.m. to noon on HPU’s Academy of Freedom campus. The programs are still open for registration and will feature innovative instruction in a variety of subjects, including music for the younger students and robotics for the older students. The theme for this year is “Brainpower and the Body” which will include instruction in biology and the various functions of the body including the brain, heart, lungs, bones and muscles.

“This program is designed for students of all levels,” said Dr. Julie Welker, director of the programs. Dr. Welker is the chair of the communication department and professor of communication at HPU. “Whether your child struggles in reading or is a great reader, he or she will be engaged and challenged. We try to reach each student on an individual level and let him or her enjoy learning new and fun material.”

This year’s Summer Scholars teachers include Melinda Elkins, seventh-grade language arts teacher and head cross-country coach at Early Middle School and assistant basketball and track coach at Early High School; Tami Hull, sixth-grade science teacher at Early Middle School and coach of the robotics and University Interscholastic League science and mathematics teams; Dr. Kristen Hutchins, assistant professor of biology at HPU, who holds a doctoral degree in curriculum and instruction in the area of science education; and Dr. Evelyn Romig, professor of English at HPU, who holds a doctoral degree in English.

Young Scholars teachers include Melinda Elkins; Deanna Erxleben, adjunct instructor of music at HPU, who holds a master’s degree in vocal performance with a concentration in voice science and pedagogy reading; Jennifer McKibben, eighth-grade science teacher at Early Middle School; and Clairissa Tucker, second-grade biology teacher at Bangs ISD who holds a master’s degree in education.

In the Summer Scholars program, students entering fourth through sixth grades will study robotics, computer graphics, reading, biology and physical education. Young Scholars is designed for children entering first through third grades. The campers will receive instruction in music, biology, reading and physical education.

“Summer and Young Scholars is a great program that enables students to do a lot of hands-on learning,” Dr. Welker said. “In the educational age in which we live, students spend more time learning to take a specific test and less time getting to do critical thinking and problem-solving activities. We like to provide that type of learning in our program.”

Cost for the Summer Scholars and Young Scholars programs is $100 per student and includes a souvenir, snacks and supplies. Registration will be accepted until the program begins on July 15.

“We make it a priority to send our kids to sports camps and get plenty of physical activity during the summer, but we also need to provide mental exercise for our children,” said Dr. Welker. “Summer and Young Scholars is a great way to do that. Kids get to sharpen their mental skills in a fun yet challenging environment.”

For more information about the Summer Scholars and Young Scholars programs, contact Dr. Welker at (325) 649-8508 or via e-mail at You can also join the Facebook group by searching for “Summer and Young Scholars” on