WEIRTON - Despite it being summer, the halls of Weir Middle School have been filled with the sounds of children in recent weeks.
Energy Express, a summer reading and nutrition program operated by the West Virginia University Extension Office, has been held at the school since June 23, with 48 children participating.
On Monday, families and the community were invited to an open house where they could see, first-hand, what the students have been doing this summer.
OPEN HOUSE — Some of the students participating in this year’s Energy Express program at Weir Middle School perform a skit during an open house held at the school Monday. The eight-week summer reading and nutrition program, operated through the West Virginia University Extension, also will hold an open house at Oak Glen Middle today and Follansbee Middle Wednesday. -- Craig Howell
Energy Express focuses on reading, writing, art and drama, with students reading a different book each day and then taking part in various activities to follow the theme of each book.
It is designed to prevent the "summer slide" in learning during the months when students are out of school, and officials say the program has seen tremendous growth in recent years.
"We now have a waiting list for this program," site supervisor Sherri Marsella explained. "Word is spreading about how wonderful Energy Express is."
Marsella expressed her appreciation to the Hancock County Board of Education for allowing the use of the school, Weirton Christian Center for assisting with transportation and C.H.A.N.G.E. Inc. for providing meals for the students.
On Monday, groups of students, as well as their adult mentors, performed skits and sang songs based on some of the books they have been reading.
Mentors with Energy Express are volunteers, with most participating through the AmeriCorps program.
Visitors to the open house Monday also had the opportunity to visit the children's classrooms and see some of the crafts and other activities held during the program.
Open houses also are scheduled for other local Energy Express sites, including 6 p.m. today at Oak Glen Middle School and 6 p.m. Wednesday at Follansbee Middle School.