Park City students shine at leadership, technology camp | ParkRecord.com

Park City students shine at leadership, technology camp

Louise Kingston remembers when she first knew her son, Edward, had a passion for technology.

He was 3, and though he couldn’t read or write, he’d sit at her computer, incessantly asking her to type topics into the Internet search bar.

"I ended up having to put him in preschool because I’d spend the whole day typing in the Google bar for him," she said.

Now an incoming sixth-grader, Edward Kingston has proven his early aptitude for technology was a sign of what was to come. He was among three Trailside Elementary School students — along with Catherine Defa and Sofia Bernasconi — who attended a National Youth Leadership Forum camp after being nominated by teacher Sheri Johnson.

The six-day camp, held earlier this month at the University of Denver, focused on helping the students develop leadership skills and explore STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) careers.

"As a parent, I’m always looking for opportunities that would celebrate leadership," Louise Kingston said. "Also, the STEM camp was right up the alley of celebrating what Edward is all about, which is technology."

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Guy Defa, Catherine Defa’s father, said he viewed the camp as an investment in his daughter’s future. The students attending spent five nights in dorm rooms and got a look at what college life is like.

"I thought it was an opportunity a lot of kids wouldn’t get," he said. "Staying away on her own for a week in a dorm-like setting on a campus, I thought would be really beneficial in terms of looking into the future. She could get sense of what college is all about, plus I liked the leadership skill-building the camp offered."

Catherine Defa, who is entering fifth grade at Trailside and wants to become an architect when she grows up, said the best part of the camp was an activity that allowed her to catch a glimpse into her potential future career.

"I thought it was pretty fun when we got to learn about truss bridges," she said. "We made some truss bridges out of paper clips and straws and one piece of paper."

Edward Kingston’s camp experience, however, was not perfect. He was forced to change roommates midway through the week because of bullying, but he decided to not let that sully his experience. He said going to the camp was still worth it.

"I thought that someone’s insecurities and thoughts about me weren’t going to ruin my experience," he said. "I’m actually very glad I went, even though that happened. It was an unlucky situation, but I got what I wanted to out of the camp, and got to meet a lot of people just like me."