Save the Date*** June 24 - June 30, 2018

A Residential Camp for Talented and Highly Able Students in grades 5-8  Academy Save Date 2018 PRESS Page 1

Academy is a week-long experience allowing talented and highly motivated students in grades 5-8 to explore a broad range of classes, lectures, cultural events, and recreational activities. Academy is entering its thirty-seventh year, and has long been recognized as an outstanding educational opportunity for students in the Pacific Northwest. Students selected for each residential session on the SOU campus in Ashland interact with peers, and are challenged by creative, imaginative instructors and activities.

The week begins with check-in on Sunday evening, and classes occurring Monday through Friday. The daily schedule includes four one-hour classes, plus special presentations built around the years theme. Academy students select course offerings from humanities, mathematics, science, social studies, and fine and performing arts. After-class programs are coordinated with in-class activities to provide supervised recreation, as well as academic challenges. Students also attend an evening theatrical production at Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Academy concludes on Saturday morning with the presentation of certificates and a closing ceremony for students and their families.

Administrative and residential staff carefully supervise the 12-person living groups. Students develop close friendships with fellow students from around the country.

2018 Brochure [PDF]                                                                 Start App web    

DOWNLOAD A RECOMMENDATION FORM (PDF)                                                                     DOWNLOAD A JUNIOR COUNSELOR RECOMMENDATION FORM (PDF)

2017 CLASS DESCRIPTIONS SESSION 1 (2018 Classes coming soon...)


See what all the buzz is about and get a hands-on, up close opportunity to study the fascinating life of the honeybee.  Young beekeepers will get to try on protective bee suits and use beekeeping equipment to explore the inner workings of a bee hive.  You will record observations in your own Bee Log, taste real honey, and plant native wildflowers in the garden as a food source for the honeybees.  At the end of this fantastic class, you will receive your own Bee Badge as a certified beginner beekeeper, equipped with the knowledge and curiosity to be lifelong friends with the honeybee! Instructor: Tyler Hawkins is the head mechanic for the SOU BIKE Program, and is president of the SOU Beekeeping Club. He holds a B.S. with honors in Art from SOU. 

Safe inside a mask and jacket, you will be introduced to the exciting sport of fencing. Learn the skills of scoring or making touches on your opponent while avoiding being scored on, as well as learning the respect, ethics, and camaraderie involved in this classic sport. Note: All equipment will be supplied. Instructor: Dylan Shelton is a certified Moniteur d'Armes in three weapons with more than seven years' experience teaching fencing in the Rogue Valley.>                                                                                        

Conflict happens between people at every age and in every setting. Developing skills like active listening and being able to interpret how people use non-verbal communication will help you reap the benefits of diffusing conflicts before they escalate. You’ll explore how to referee conversations and how to devise strategies of communicating with others to find mutually beneficial resolutions in situations at home, at school and with friends that will serve you for a lifetime. Instructor: John Cornet has been an AP teacher at Phoenix High School since 1999 and has taught at SOU.  He was a finalist for Oregon Teacher of the Year in 2006 (twice nominated), and recipient of the Imagine Award for Community Peacemaking in 2009.  

Did you know that there are about 400,000 plant species on planet Earth? The daily existence of human beings is directly influenced by plants that provide food, flavor, resin, oils, rubber, medicine and more so that we can survive. You’ll conduct field and laboratory research through hands on activities like preparing slides, looking at the inner workings of plant cells through a microscope and gathering plant specimens for identification. Explore the power of plants in this amazing new class! Instructor: Shelly Bursick holds a Ph.D. in Forest Ecology and a Ph.D. in Space and Planetary Sciences, Quasar Astronomy from the University of Arkansas.  She has shared her love of science and mathematics with youth in a variety of educational programs across the United States and Canada for almost 15 years.

Are you curious about how your ancestors came to the United States and what the story behind their journey is? Our American heritage is filled with the stories of individuals and fearless families who have come to America to build new lives. Explore a range of cultures that make up the foundation of our country as you read poems and stories by a diverse group of authors.  Then, armed with inspiration, you will create your own stories or poems that reflect what cultures interest you and what you have learned.  You’ll discover the steps of pre-writing, drafting, editing, and creating final drafts. At the end of the week you and your classmates will take home a collection of original writings to share. Instructor: Michelle Wilson is a former secondary English teacher and has taught creative writing at local schools and through the Oregon Writing Project Young Authors' program.

Take on the role of a historical detective and try to figure out what really happened in this country hundreds of years ago.  You’ll piece together historical information and artifacts and use your powers of deduction to figure out what really happened during various historical events.  Learn how to engage in healthy debate about American history as you discover that every story has a bias behind it.  From Columbus's 'discovery' of America to the Boston Massacre to whether or not Abraham Lincoln was racist, you’ll realize that history is a puzzle that can be pieced together but the puzzle will never be fully completed. Instructor: Clint Rodreick is a Phoenix High School Social Studies Teacher who has been teaching for 9 years.  He teaches AP and Pre-AP and is the Speech and Debate coach.  Mr. Rodreick's educational focus and inspiration is to encourage students to think critically and deeply about the world they live in.


2017 CLASS DESCRIPTIONS SESSION 2 (2018 Classes coming soon...)


Do you look like your mom ...or your dad ...or one of your great-great grandparents?  Want to explore why?  Using probability, heredity, and creativity, you'll learn about human genetics and why some traits seem to be passed on while others seem to skip generations. Using a variety of fun hands-on activities, you'll even get to see what your kids might look like in the future by crossing human genotypes to create offspring!  Instructor: Heather Ransom holds a Master’s in Education from SOU and has taught middle school science for the past 24 years. She is also a published Young Adult Science Fiction author.

Explore geometric principles and angle relations in a whole new way as you consider measurement and angles in a variety of building and construction models. You’ll design and build paper cubes and polyhedrons and practice calligraphy and lettering as you discover why some cultures call calligraphy “the geometry of the spirit”. Using a compass and a protractor you’ll learn the language of sacred geometry as you create beautiful mandalas that represent the cosmos and as a symbol that is used “to reunify the self”. Mathematics has never been more fun and fascinating! Instructor: Anna Schatz specializes in test prep and has a background in law and teaching. She is a Rogue Valley native and longtime Portlander.

Study Japanese art and culture through musical instruments, Shuji (writing Japanese characters with a brush and ink), Origami (paper folding art work), clay work and the Japanese language. Broaden your cultural horizons while having fun! You will learn about Japanese cultural traditions such as making a replica of Japan’s ancient clay bell. Instructor: Wataru Sugiyama is an international sculptor and native of Japan. He has exhibited his work throughout the United States, England, Switzerland, Germany and Japan.                

Dialogue begins with conversations overheard at Starbucks, in the locker room, at the mall, on a field trip – wherever a writer goes.  Dialogue brings writing to life, gives it texture and color. Plays and screenplays don’t work without dialogue but fiction and non-fiction prose is more vivid when voices ring true in a writer’s work. You’ll learn how to develop the skills to observe patterns of speech, how to recognize texture and tone in different formats and how to use dialogue in descriptive non-fiction, poetry, short fiction, a stage play or a screen play for film in this exciting class. Instructor: Peter Arango holds a BA in English and a MA in Library Science. He was a teacher for 44 years and held the Humanities Chair at the Cate School for 18 years. He is a Fellow and Instructor for the South Coast Writing Project, a Reader for the College Board, Educational Service and the University of California. He is the author of 5 novels and America’s Best Kept College Secrets.

Propaganda at its core is a communication device that is often used in graphic art to influence people about a specific cause or position. Explore different eras of propaganda posters in this intriguing class including posters from World War I and II and learn why certain powerful images are still familiar to us today. Then design your own propaganda posters using a variety of art supplies and mediums to create a colorful, powerful message to share with the world. Instructor: Craig Honeycutt has a Master’s in Art Education and is a professional artist and art educator with more than twenty years teaching experience.

Are you excited about the future of technology? It is here right now, in your pocket and on your desk. Learn how to unlock the potential of electronics theory and applications, computing history and programming fundamentals in this exciting class. You’ll build a special electronics circuit and build a PC from spare parts as you explore digital logic and how to build gates to solve problems. Then try 360 VR with a headset, build a 3D VR world and explore others. Instructor: Andres Rivero is a Computer Science student at SOU in his senior year and previously worked as computing science tutor at Pennsylvania State University. He was a presenter at the annual Cesar Chavez Leadership Conferences on animation and robotic technology and is an 11-year active duty veteran of the US Marine Corps.



To be considered for Academy, students must be highly motivated with a love of learning. Generally, Academy students exhibit the ability to quickly explore topics in great depth and often require services beyond those provided by the regular school system. Students often demonstrate at least one of the following: 

  • Measured intelligence above average
  • Proven leadership ability
  • A special talent
  • Exceptional ability in the visual and performing arts
  • Unusual creative or productive thinking ability

Fees for Academy

Application Fee: $25 (first time applicants only) Pay online or mail a check to SOU Youth Programs, 1250 Siskiyou Blvd, Ashland, OR 97520.
Student Tuition: $850
Junior Counselor Tuition: $600

We are offering a Sibling Discount of $25 (first sibling pays regular price, subsequent siblings get $25 sibling discount)

Fees cover all cost for tuition, activities, housing, meals, and supervision  

Note: Tuition payment is not required until notification of acceptance.  

 *Recommendation forms, report cards, or assessment scores can be mailed to:
        SOU Pre-College Youth Programs
        1250 Siskiyou Blvd.
        Ashland, OR 97520 

Important Dates:

Priority application Deadline - April 16
General Application Deadline - April 30

Instructor Information

If you are interested in teaching Academy courses, please complete the forms in the link below:

2018 Instructor Information and Course Proposal Forms [Fillable pdf] 

For further information please contact:
 Pre-College/Youth Programs Office
(541) 552-6452

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