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Custom Learning Academy students shine

Special to the Sun
Photo courtesy Josh Whiting, CLA video editing teaCustom Learning Academy 10th grade student Mitchell Harrity poses with English teacher Christina Nemec. Harrity was elated to win first place in the Youth Film Project short story contest. Along with other students who are participating in the ongoing project, Harrity will turn his story into a short film.
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TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; Mitchell Harrityand#8217;s and#8220;Legend of the McConesand#8217; House,and#8221; the first-place winner in a short story writing contest offered by Arts for the Schoolsand#8217; Youth Film Project, combines humor, vivid images and a convincing protagonist. In short, Harrity creatively shares a compelling, laugh-out-loud story by employing his imagination and the components of great fiction.

More than two years ago, before Harrity entered Custom Learning Academy, he would have been surprised to learn that heand#8217;d win first place in the May 2012 contest. In fact, even after moving beyond grade level in national English standards, Harrity says, and#8220;I was shocked! I was so happy.and#8221;

and#8220;I really love Mitchelland#8217;s story because it is so funny,and#8221; explains Christina Nemec, who taught a workshop for Arts for the Schoolsand#8217; Youth Film Project, which engages interested local high school students in writing and film production. Students craft a compelling short story they turn into a screenplay and then direct or star in their own film. Students use Arts For the Schoolsand#8217; and TTCTV video cameras and iMacs with Final Cut Pro to create films that will be featured in a film festival later this year.

The spring workshop focused on character, plot, setting and creative writing. Students also watched short films selected by video teacher Rory Oand#8217;Farrell. Harrity explains he learned how to use more descriptions and write a better story from Nemec who is also an English teacher at Custom Learning Academy and Sierra College. Winners were chosen based on the and#8220;filmabilityand#8221; of their story and how effective the stories would work as 5- to 7-minute vignettes.

Custom Learning Academyand#8217;s Casey Doughty and Taylor Binney from Incline Village High School tied for second place and CLAand#8217;s Arella Trustman and Cody Poulson of Truckee High School received awards for third place.

and#8220;Iand#8217;m so appreciative that CLA participated in a program open to all high students in the area, and really proud that Custom Learning Academy students gained so much from the Arts for the Schoolsand#8217; workshops held at Truckee High School,and#8221; said Custom Learning Academyand#8217;s founder and director Lisa Crosby.

This month Custom Learning Academy teachers are gearing up for summer camps that infuse exploration, discovery and traditional outdoor activities. In addition, Nemec will be teaching two creative writing classes for secondary students at Custom Learning Academy this August. There will be a writerand#8217;s toolbox workshop for students entering grades sixth to eighth and an essential writing skills class for students entering high school.

To learn more about summer camp, full time enrollment and courses for credit or schedule a complimentary consultation for your family at the WASC accredited private kindergarten through 12 school visit customlearning.org or call 530-587-5470.

Custom Learning Academy pairs outdoor activities with themed educational adventures for weekly camps throughout the summer.

Grades kindergarten-second, My Very Own Book, July 30 to Aug. 3

Children who love to create stories will write and illustrate stories and talk about books by famous authors and illustrators. Each student will take home a book he or she has written.

Grades third-fifth, Book Club, July 9 to 13

During this weeklong book club, children will read inside and outside, create art inspired by literature and act out scenes from favorite books.

Grades third-fifth, Future Authors, July 30 to Aug. 3

Students will write and illustrate their own stories and study books by famous authors and illustrators. They will learn how to organize their stories with plot, characters, and setting as well as create their own book.

Additional themes include art and nature, biology, Brazil, culture, dinosaurs, fitness and music. There is a 10 to 1 camper to teacher ratio and camps are open to the community. The cost is $160 per week. Register at customlearning.org or call 530-587-5-470.


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