Program Enriches Students’ Summer in the SMSD

Program Enriches Students’ Summer in the SMSD
Shawnee Mission School District

This summer, hundreds of students had a chance to explore and discover new interests through Summer Enrichment.

Throughout the summer, more than 1,055 session participants took part in the program.

At Westridge Middle School, students engaged in learning in a variety of subject areas related to music, science and nature, sports, art, and more.

At the Center for Academic Achievement (CAA), students in seventh and eighth grade had the opportunity to learn more about Shawnee Mission’s Signature Programs. Early in the summer, students learned about Medical Health Sciences through Camp CARE. Students were also able to explore Shawnee Mission’s Engineering, Biotechnology, and Culinary and Hospitality programs.

Here are some highlights from those classes:


Throughout their week, students in teams of five designed and built vehicles with energy generated from a mouse trap, taking their ideas from sketch to construction. In another activity, students created a device to prevent an egg from being dropped at 5 feet, 10 feet, and then off of a balcony at the CAA. Five of the eight teams concluded the exercise with their eggs intact, Greg Thiel, engineering instructor shared.

“Excellent teamwork and cooperation was evident all week,” Thiel added.

Culinary Arts

At the Broadmoor Bistro, SMSD’s student-run restaurant, students spent five days cooking and baking in the kitchen, said Stephan Venne, instructor. Menus included fettuccine from scratch with garlic toast, pizzas, smashburgers and homemade French fries, pop tarts, muffins, and boba tea. On the final day, students hosted an ice cream social for parents and siblings.

“We wanted the students to get in the kitchen and try a few new things,” Venne shared. “Some had never made anything but by the end of the week had made several different styles of dough. They all did a great job working in a team and hopefully made some new friends.”


Working with Dr. Lee, students donned lab coats and entered the biotechnology laboratory at the CAA. Their week included discussions about DNA, followed by working with DNA from their own cheek cells. Students learned techniques of forensic science and worked to solve a donut-themed mystery in the classroom. They also studied molecular gastronomy, finishing off the lesson by creating molecular spheres and ice cream.

Click here to learn more about the unique opportunities available for high school students in Shawnee Mission’s Signature Programs.