From left: Highville Charter School students Jayda Seth, Mikhel-Bryce Nieves, Miara Sweeney, Kyera Toney, Raven Joseph and Zahire Toney created Coca-Cola and Mentos geysers on the final day of the four-week Rising Scholars initiative co-sponsored by the charter school and the Quinnipiac University’s School of Education.

Ten middle school students from Highville Charter School in New Haven had a blast, quite literally, July 23 on Quinnipiac University’s North Haven Campus

The students created Coca-Cola and Mentos geysers on the final day of the four-week Rising Scholars initiative co-sponsored by the charter school and the university’s School of Education. The children also participated in a mock trial in the in the School of Law Center at Quinnipiac.

Quinnipiac students Amy Brazauski of Meriden, Alyssa Krasnecky of Sturbridge, Massachusetts, Jeremy Robideau of Meriden and Taylor Rose of Manchester spent part of their summer giving the seventh- and eighth-graders an edge as they prepare for high school in the enrichment and leadership program.

They are all enrolled in the master of arts in teaching program at Quinnipiac.

“It never felt like work,” Rose said. “I woke up every morning wanting to be there. I guess that means I’ve chosen the right career.”

The Quinnipiac mentors helped the Highville students develop critical literacy, mathematics and science skills through the Rising Scholars initiative.

“It’s a two-sided coin,” said Christine Grady, a sixth-grade teacher at Highville. “Our kids are being enriched during the summer, while the Quinnipiac students are gaining valuable experience working with a small group that works hard, is respectful and enjoys learning. It’s really an ideal situation.”

Grady and Nicholas DiLuggo, a teacher and director of online learning, served as faculty advisors for the Highville students. Both are Quinnipiac alumni.

The mock trial started a lively day. Seventh-grader Zahire Toney, dressed sharply in a vest and tie, played the role of University of Highville gridiron star Freddie Football.

Freddie had his scholarship revoked for refusing to grant the University of Highville access to his social media accounts as mandated in the school’s code of conduct. “He was granted a scholarship on a conditional basis and he did not follow those conditions,” one young lawyer argued. The five-member jury concurred, deciding by a 3-2 majority in favor of the fictitious university.

The enrichment program concluded with lunch and the soda geyser experiment.

“We’ve talked about elements and reactions,” said Krasnecky, who hopes to teach science after graduating from Quinnipiac’s MAT program. “Coke and Mentos is an easy way to show what happens during a reaction.”

In addition to continuing the momentum of learning over the summer, the four-week initiative helped the junior high school students look ahead.

“It is fun to see what colleges are out there,” Toney said.

The Quinnipiac students also benefitted from the program.

“It was really our first teaching experience,” Brazauski said. “It was really the first step toward our future. It was a lot of learning, but it was a lot of fun, too.”

Posted by Chris

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