Nay Ah Shing Students Return from GERI Residential Camp


By Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, July 21, 2015

by Gregg Rutter

Eight students from Nay Ah Shing School, in grades 5 through 9, recently returned from a two-week trip to Purdue University’s GERI Summer Residential Camp. They had an awesome time! Busy, fun, and fulfilling. Gregg Rutter and Jeannie Gross, both educators at the school, accompanied them. Before the trip, the students said they were most excited about “learning new things” and “meeting new people,” and they did just exactly that.

New friends from as far away as South Korea and Columbia, as well as from across the United States, joined the Nay Ah Shing students in their classes, small groups, and as roommates in Earhart Hall, the on-campus residence hall they lived in named after Amelia Earhart, “Inspirer of Dreams.”

Students went to class every day for six hours to participate in hands-on learning activities. As the kids reflected on their experience they highlighted what they learned and enjoyed:

“I didn’t know anything about 3D printing; I was excited to learn about it and make stuff. I made a house, a spikey ball, a basketball, and even a small basketball court.”

“I learned how to sketch, and how to sketch fast. We used pencils, watercolor pencils, and markers. I sketched a car, a taco, and cylinders & cubes in the Toy Design class.”

“I learned that blood can splatter in a whole bunch of different directions in my CSI Investigation class.”

“I learned about other people’s cultures; people from Columbia and from India.”

“I learned how to fold a dodecahedron – it was hard, but I finished it – it took two hours.”

“I learned to stay in the struggle. I learned that a Pringle chip is the shape of a hyperbolic paraboloid.”

“I learned how a 3D printer works and how to design things on a computer. I learned how to make a chair out of cardboard, and how to make a door alarm out of a bunch of junk.”

“I learned that programming a robot is fun.”

“I liked learning about DNA, and that you can solve crimes by taking samples of DNA. We mushed up strawberries, added salt, meat tenderizer, and window cleaner to the mushed up strawberry, drained it through a coffee filter, then put it in a test tube and added isopropyl alcohol to it, scooped it out and, voila: DNA.”

“I made new friends from Arizona and Maryland.”

“I learned that making huge origami is possible; it’s hard but it’s fun to do.”

There was also a Global Gala event at GERI Camp. The campers were invited to share a particular talent or something about their culture with the rest of the campers. Louis shared a Native hand drum song, Molly spoke of the Ojibwe language, and Taylor shared her Jingle Dress along with many beaded items. Others participated in group songs and activities.

GERI is an acronym for Gifted Education Resource Institute. This is the third year that Gregg Rutter has brought students from Nay Ah Shing’s gifted education program to this fun, enriching program at Purdue University in Indiana. GERI Summer Residential Camp gives students opportunities and exposure to travel, social, and learning experiences that help push them beyond their comfort zones and reach for the stars in their aspirations for the future.

The students who attended GERI 2015 were: Chase Sam, Louis Whiteman-Cram, Molly Saboo, Mia Sam, Ronni Jourdain, Jennie Mitchell, Taylor Nadeau, and Megan Saboo. They all represented Nay Ah Shing School and the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe with pride and respect.