Thanks to local supporters, his dedicated family and a former teacher, Sunset Avenue 4th grader Jaden Sampson is on his way to Raleigh this summer to participate in the National Young Scholars Program (NYSP) held at William Peace University.
The opportunity began when one of Jaden’s teachers from Butler Avenue, 3rd grade Language Arts teacher Tonya Starling, nominated him for the program.
“He was a hard worker, an A student, and showed good leadership skills. Many of his classmates looked up to him,” shared Starling. “I thought the NYSP would be a good experience for him. It would be something different for him to do and would show him things that he normally would not get to see if he just went to a regular summer camp around here. I think it will open his eyes to things that he might want to do later in life and help prepare him for college and beyond.”
Excited by the opportunity and wanting to attend the program, Jaden and his family, who Starling described as very supportive, began organizing fundraisers in order to make the trip possible.
“We’ve held a total of three fundraisers,” said Karolina Sampson, Jaden’s mother. “The first one we sold tickets for and gave away four prizes — a digital camera, a tote bag, an overnight bag from Matthew’s (Cards and Gifts) and a hand-held camcorder.”
Two other fundraisers took place at Tractor Supply, the last one being held Friday, March 8. “We sold funnel cakes, hot dogs and drinks,” said Karolina, calling the Tractor Supply employees “very helpful and friendly.”
According to Karolina, the total cost of attending the NYSP is $2,114, and because of strong local support, Jaden’s fundraisers were a success, bringing in enough money to pay the cost of his tuition.
“I sent the last payment (for tuition) off yesterday,” Karolina noted.
Now that they know he will be able to attend, Jaden and his mother are very excited about his chance to participate in the NYSP. “He will be gone for a week in July and is going to be studying the human body, engineering and crime scene investigation,” shared Karolina.
Jaden added that his favorite subject in school is science, an area he will get to learn a lot about though numerous hands-on activities during his time in the NYSP.
For example, according to the NYSP website, “students (studying crime scene investigation) will apply science-based detective skills, use chemistry concepts to solve crimes and develop logical thinking strategies to unlock clues in a fictional case. Students will explore the important distinction between evidence and inference, connect facts to unravel clues, apply the skills of a forensic scientist to set up experiments and use observation and inquiry to ultimately crack the case.”
“It will really enhance his knowledge,” said Karolina. “I think he will get the most of out of the engineering part of the program because he loves to build things. Since he is also in Boy Scouts, I think the two experiences will work hand in hand.”
She is grateful that her son gets to have this experience, one she wishes that she could have herself. “I’d love to go, especially to study the crime scene investigation stuff,” said Karolina, mentioning that her father was a police officer. “I love watching those kinds of TV shows, like CSI and NCIS, because I like to try and solve the mystery myself.”
“We’d like to thank everyone who came out and supported the fundraisers for Jaden and also those who just gave a donation,” added Karolina.
Lauren Williams can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 117 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.