What Campers REALLY Think About SCATS (Spoiler alert: it’s all good!)

by Erika Solberg

What have campers been enjoying at SCATS? How is SCATS different from school? We asked dozens of campers these questions and more over the last few lunch periods. Read below to find out what they said!

What have been some highlights from camp?

Maeleigh Belcher: Hall time. We get to be with our floor, play a bunch of games together, and eat snacks. We play Mafia every night — it’s really fun.

Elias Sierra: I love how many friends I managed to make in one week. All these people around here are so hilarious. Each one has such a different sense of humor that always makes me laugh.

Jimmy Anderson: My favorite class is Crusades because we’re learning, but we’re also being part of the history. We’re taking part in the battles, like in the sieges, Dungeons & Dragons-style. We roll dice to determine what happens, and we do some really crazy stuff. Yesterday I threw a giant sword at a guy from 50 meters away and hit him.

Daniel Andrus: A highlight happened today in Never Forget 9/11 — we had a debate on whether or not we should have participated in the War on Terror. It was really fun seeing both sides of that.

Niles Bond: I’ve made a band with Elias [Sierra] and Matthew [Feragola]. That was pretty fun — we might be in the talent show. I’m the drummer. I have my sticks and my practice pad here in my bag, but we don’t have an actual drum set, so I’ve just been hitting things.

Sienna Johnson: I didn’t expect that there would be so many arts classes!

Andrew Que: I really like the Optionals, especially the card and board games. We get a large variety to pick from.

Kaliana Richardson: In Cell-E-Bration class, we get to use a microscope, which I haven’t gotten to use at school. We can see different kinds of cells, like cells from pond water.

Akasha Glover: I like all my classes — I thought it was going to be just like school, but it’s more fun because they don’t teach the usual way. It’s more hands-on.

Madison Berman: In Musical Theater Exploration, we get to choose our own songs to do by the end of the two weeks. There’s a lot more freedom in our learning than I thought there would be. We’re going to sing “Waving through a Window” from Dear Evan Hansen for the group number, and my partner, Sienna, and I are doing “What Is This Feeling?” from Wicked.

Ana Deih: I like the Optionals and how we stay in dorms. I also like the food a lot — there’s lots of choices, and it’s good, especially the ice cream.

Kayla Woods: I got to meet a lot more people this year. My circle has grown.

Samuel Henderson: My favorite class is Mathematical Sequences — I learned about probability. My second favorite is Roller Coaster Physics.

Jack Sternburg: I’ve been enjoying the Optionals. They change every day, and they’re really fun to do. Last night I did Pet Rocks — we went on a spiritual journey with our rock buddies.

Leela Kaul: I mainly have writing classes because I want to be a journalist. I wrote about Priyanka Chopra, and we wrote monologues in another class.

Elle Sells: In Art Around the World, I learned how to make a dream catcher, which was pretty cool. In Breakout Room Frenzy, we’re talking about problem solving, and sometimes we’re doing math where the questions have multiple answers, so we’re learning how to think out of the box.

William Deprest: I really like interacting with the other kids, and the classes are very unique and interesting. I’m really enjoying Get It Write, and I enjoyed the foursquare Optional — that was fun.

Megan Richey: I’ve learned some really cool painting techniques.

Gracie Adams: My favorite Optional so far has been Music Room. I played the piano and sang.


What makes SCATS different from regular school?

Cade Howell: You get to talk to people who actually know what you’re talking about — that’s a huge thing for me.

Nolan Casebier: The classes are definitely different. They’re more diverse, and they go into much more depth than normal school goes if they cover said topic.

Kate Hans: SCATS is a lot better than school because we get to do classes that we enjoy. We can show who we are and have fun.

Addie Patterson: First of all, the food here is much better than at school. I also enjoy the freedom that we have — you get to walk throughout the campus — and then our classes are fun, and we can extend onto the ideas and projects that we want to keep elaborating on.

Emery Arnold: You get to pick all of your classes, and it’s not just the common core.

Malachi Ibn-Mohammed: Since I’m a gifted student, my level of reading and my level of math are up here [gestures to ear-level], but at school, I’m in a class where everybody else’s levels are not quite as high up [gestures to shoulder level], so I have to sit back. At SCATS, I love how I’m in classes where everybody is either at my level or above.

Alivia Higgins: In Mathematical Sequences, I don’t already know everything we’re being taught, but at regular school I do.

Ella Masters: You get to know people from everywhere. It’s not just from the area where you live.

Sharon Kim: The counselors and the teachers really care.

Jackson McDaniel: I like the no phone policy because you’re able to actually talk with people and interact with them.

Taylor Wilson: We have longer to work on things, and we choose what we get to do. I can be more open with my classmates because they like similar things.

Harrison Hudson: The classes are more challenging, and we don’t have specific classes we have to take. You can choose what you want, and I think it’s a lot more fun.

Myra Jones: I’m in middle school, so we have seven classes. At SCATS, we only have four, so they’re longer. We have more time to get stuff done, and they’re just more fun.

Nuam Nuam: The experiences that we have are really different. At school we have so many students that we don’t do hands-on projects.

Eric Wang: We get to test and experiment with more things.

Mac Bettersworth: You get to meet people who have the same interests as you, and it causes you to make friends because all of us are nerds here.

Brennan Davis: It’s so much more fun when you don’t have to worry about being graded. In Engineer It, we’re 3D-printing boats, so I’m looking forward to seeing if mine floats. I’m not very confident about my boat, though, because we used software I’ve never used before, and because I had some ideas I thought would be good, but you never really know until you test it out.


What did you do this weekend that you enjoyed?

Trevor Shaw: I did Paper Theatre. Our skit was pretty funny — it was Snow White from the Jurassic age. I played a boulder.

Will Hackbarth: The Olympics, because we got to do a lot of things — I did trivia. I was playing for The Mongolian Empire.

Nolan Casebier: I got to play card games with other campers.

Sharon Kim: This is completely not what anybody else would say, but I really enjoyed when they played BTS [a South Korean boy band] on the speakers. I hugged the speaker! And also in community time, one of my counselors played BTS, and I was so happy.

Lillie Green: My highlight would have to be the cookout because we got to talk to each other.

Addie Patterson: On Friday at Preston, I enjoyed getting to practice the sports that I play year round. I played a teeny bit of volleyball, and then I played tennis. And then on Saturday and Sunday, I got to play dodgeball, once for Optionals and once for the Olympics.

Trace Martin: The Olympics. I was on team Poland, and we ended up winning, so I’m happy about that. The USA was supposed to win because of the main events, but we dominated in the side events like foursquare and pushups.

Ria Malpani: My highlight was Paper Theatre because our assignment was Cinderella, robot style, so it was called “Cinder-Roomba,” and Princess Cinderella drove around in a Tesla to the ball. I was one of the narrators. We had 30 minutes, and it was super fun trying to perform all of that dressing up with paper. It was really funny.


How would you describe SCATS to someone who’s never been here before?

Elias Sierra: My family has been going here for almost 10 years [his older brother, Carlos, attended SCATS 2010-12 and VAMPY 2013-14, and his older brother Javier attended SCATS 2015-17 and VAMPY 2018-19). My brother Carlos told my parents that it was fun, and because of that, brother after brother after brother has come here.

Danielle Esan: SCATS is an academic program, but it’s not like the way they teach you in school. It’s a lot more fun and hands-on. It’s a camp where you can get away. You don’t get to use your phone, but you’ll live, I promise — because I’m doing it!

Matthew Feragola: For anyone who is gifted, SCATS is something you absolutely have to do. It’s an experience that you have trouble describing, or doing justice to through words. You just have to experience it and make these friends, have the amazing food, do the amazing Optionals — just have a great time at SCATS.





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