Explore and Soar With Us!
If you are a student at Madison Middle, Sherman Junior High or Van Junior High Schools, please contact your school principal for registration information. Explore these web pages and learn about the program and its many offerings and then come Soar with us. Don’t miss out on all the fun! And, students don’t get to have all the fun. If you are a professional interested in sharing your time and talent with the students in this program, please contact Staci Leech-Cornell at 304-561-3511 or sleech@theclaycenter.org.

University of Charleston and Clay Center Team Up for Health Fairs!
University of Charleston nursing students partnered with the Clay Center to provide community health fairs for students and families at Madison Middle School and Sherman Jr. High School. Students participated in a variety of activities, including diabetes screenings, blood pressure checks, presentations on drug and alcohol abuse prevention and many other health-related topics. Participants could also get in on a fun-filled Zumba class! UC and the Clay Center will partner again soon to provide a community health fair at Van Jr. High School.


Second Summer Camp is a Huge Hit!
Explore and Soar students had a great time this past July with a week-long summer camp at Madison Middle School. Students created their own ceramic artworks, enjoyed physical education activities, explored the Moons of Jupiter and created moon settlements on Jupiter’s four largest moons – without leaving earth, of course. To top it all off, students worked each day to write, direct, film, act in and edit a zombie movie! Check out the short film “Dub Step from the Undead” and see what they created.

Explore and Soar wins Governor's Award for Arts in Education
The Explore and Soar 21st Century Community Learning Center program received one of the highest honors possible in West Virginia, for its dedication to STEAM education in extended-day programming. Through projects such as Challenge America, Voices of the Mountain and School Sculptures with Kevin Reese, the program has given students opportunities to work with professional mentors, use problem-solving skills, and innovate and create in a variety of areas. Congratulations and continued success!

"Voices of the Mountain" a Great Success!
Van students had the chance to see their plays brought from page to stage as Explore and Soar partnered with Appalachian Artists Collective (AAC) for an extensive playwriting project. Leah Turley and Mike Murdock of AAC worked with students to create one-acts. These short plays and monologues gave students the chance to get creative and practice their editing skills. The plays were then rehearsed and performed live by professional actors from AAC. The performance took place on March 25 in the Clay Center’s Walker Theater and again the following day at Van Jr./Sr. High School to rave reviews! Special thanks to our actors: Tyler Eldridge, Mariah Plante, Olivia Morris and Justin Skidmore.

Art and Science Connect in Challenge America Project!
Explore and Soar students got the chance to work with artist and scientist mentor teams in an exciting project through Challenge America. Artist/scientist teams presented lessons at our three sites and students worked with everything from lasers to watercolors as they explored connections between the disciplines. Check out the details and pictures of each project on each school’s program page! 

D.C. Artist Kevin Reese Works with Explore & Soar Sites!
School Sculpture artist Kevin Reese works with students all over the country to create original works of art for their schools. Thanks to funding from the 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant and the Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation, Kevin was able to work with all three of our Explore & Soar sites! Each school now has a permanent sculpture installation, showcasing the work of Kevin and the students for years to come. Students used a variety of skills in creating their work including working in cooperative groups, mathematics for measurement, and engineering and design to create balanced works of art.


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