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Twenty students from Richmond County enjoyed a hands-on experience with new technologies this summer at Richmond County’s Ninth Grade Academy. The program, which began in 2010, is known as the Summer of “Kainotomia”—a Greek word meaning innovation. The two-week-long camp is run by the district’s director of informational technology, Jeffries Epps.

“The purpose of this annual summer camp is to expose students to emerging technologies,” Epps said. “The idea is that, by exposing students to these technologies now, they’ll be comfortable with them upon graduating. They won’t be new concepts.”

The 20 students participating in the program ranged in age from 3rd grade to 11th grade. According to Epps, students are only eligible for the summer program if they regularly participated in the G.R.E.A.T. (Globally Ready Engineering and Technology) 3-D Saturday Academy during the school year. The Academy, which is a series of STEM-based classes that introduces students to 3-D engineering, was co-founded by Epps and Chad Osborne, who also designs the curriculum for Summer of Kainotomia.

Although the age range of students who participated in this year’s in Summer of Kainotomia was wide, all students were “thrown into the program” at the same level. Eventually, Epps and Osborne tailored the activities based on the students’ individual levels of proficiency in mathematics and science.

Throughout the duration of the Summer of Kainotomia, students gained experience in 3-D design, printing, scanning, and simulation; additionally, the students honed their skills in computer programming and graphic design.

This summer’s program adopted a unique theme which focused on introducing the students to computer coding and its relation to math.

“Since math scores were down across the state, we really wanted to tackle mathematics this summer,” Epps said. “Through learning to write computer codes, students are being exposed to math concepts that they will encounter again in the upcoming school year.”

In addition to getting a head start in learning the upcoming year’s math concepts, students also exercise their logical and critical thinking skills.

Ben Dibble, a four-time Summer of Kainotomia participant and recent Richmond Early College High School graduate, said he appreciated that the program allowed him to experiment with cutting-edge technology in a fun and engaging environment.

“I am especially grateful for the projects that excited me so much that I simply couldn't sleep until the project was finished or I found a solution to the problem,” Dibble said. “I no longer see a world full of problems that can’t be fixed, but a world full of polygons and vertices, of lines of code that need to be written, and of bugs that need to be fixed.”

Dibble, who hopes to earn a degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and pursue a career in cyber security, said that he owes his confidence and drive to the program.

Epps’ Summer of Kainotomia, which has become increasingly successful over the past four years, draws only one complaint—it’s too short.

“Both kids and their parents love the camp,” Epps said. “They only wish that it was longer than two weeks!”


To learn more about the Summer of Kainotomia, watch this YouTube video.