NEW ALBANY — A weeklong summer program is introducing local middle school students to Prosser Career Education Center through interactive activities and classes.

This week, Prosser is presenting its first middle school camp at the New Albany school for three programs, including fire & rescue, business and automotive. The camp is funded by Indiana University Southeast.

Matthew Hyde, business and marketing teacher at Prosser, said the camp is an “outreach tool” to market the school. This is the first year for the middle school program.

“It’s a great outreach for the community and the families who are maybe thinking about Prosser down the road,” Hyde said. “These are sixth, seventh and eighth graders, and you have to be at least a junior to come to Prosser.”

The camp, which is Monday through Friday, was open to 25 to 30 students per program.

Prosser teacher Matthew Kidd is teaching the fire & rescue program at this week’s middle school program.

Monday’s class focused on fire science and fire dynamics and will engage in a number of interactive lessons throughout the week.

The lessons will include fire training simulations, including “surviving a home emergency.” The program will also allow students to become certified in CPR and first aid by the end of the week, Kidd said.

“This is a huge chance for us to grow the fire and rescue program,” he said. “Also, with the growth of fire departments in our area, a lot of departments are becoming career departments, and the hiring pool is getting larger and larger.”

Kidd said the goal is for students to have the certifications they need to become a firefighter by the time they turn 21.

It’s been an unusual year of school with the pandemic, so he is also excited to get back more normalcy with these types of interactive activities.

Hyde, the instructor for the business/marketing summer program, said topics addressed in the camp range from financial literacy and entrepreneurship to website development.

Each day, guest speakers talk to the students in the business program. On Monday, business owner Elizabeth Kizito, known as Louisville’s “Cookie Lady,” spoke.

Students also participated in an activity inspired by the TV show “Shark Tank” in which they developed business ideas they could start with $20.

“It’s getting them out of their comfort zone, allowing them to explore different career opportunities and really to showcase Prosser and this great building that we have,” Hyde said.

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