Scholars Academy at Central

June 23-27 Hastings Campus

The Scholars Academy at Central (SAC) is a premier one-week summer program for gifted and talented students who have just completed sixth, seventh and eighth grade. This year's SAC is Sunday, June 23 to Thursday, June 27, 2019.

The Scholars Academy at Central is a great place for scholars to come together, make new friends among their intellectual peers and experience small academic classes designed to provide challenging and enriching opportunities in design and 3D printing, biology and literature and film review.

Staffed by highly regarded professors from surrounding institutions, the residential program combines classroom learning with a variety of social and cultural events. This camp has been engaging talented, high ability learners for over 3 decades.  While the location of the camp has moved, the quality of instruction and opportunities for learning continue to help students expand their minds.

During their stay, scholars get a preview of college life. They stay in campus residence halls under the supervision of SAC directors and eight college students who serve as their resident advisors and social group leaders. Leaders, professors and students eat all meals together in the Central Community College cafeteria. There are several food choices for each meal and we work to accommodate any special dietary needs. A registered nurse is also on-call for students’ health needs.


Current students who have just completed sixth, seventh and eighth grade who have proven ability in communications, language arts or science are eligible to apply. 

To participate, scholars must meet ONE of the following criteria:

  • Participation in a gifted program at school, or
  • Score at the 95th percentile or above in at least one area on a standardized achievement test such as the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, ACT, SAT, CAT or CTBS, or
  • One letter of nomination from school official.

Additionally, all campers will need to have a school counselor complete a brief form about the scholar’s learning styles and strengths as well as their ability to work with others.   


The total registration fee of $550 is due by June 17. Apply and submit your deposit of $100 by May 17. The program includes tuition, room, board, activities, and professional staff and educators. If you have a student on the free or reduced lunch plan, we have scholarships to help offset the cost. Just let us know when you submit the application.


Prototype Design and 3D Printing

During the week at SAC, scholars who chose the prototype design and 3D printing strand will design, test, 3D print prototypes and assemble a working Bluetooth speaker. The work will be done in concert with instruction in the fundamentals of design and electronics. Scholars will learn the basics of 3D modeling software and will utilize the software to design the pieces and parts required to build the Bluetooth speaker. Parts will be tested and refined through the 3D prototyping process by utilizing 3D printers and 3D software. Electronic speaker components will be used to guide the prototyping process and will be added to the finished parts to create a functional Bluetooth speaker.

Instructors: Gene Friesen, Drafting and Design Technology Instructor, Central Community College and Dan Gompert, Information Technology and Systems Instructor, Central Community College

Exploring Biological Ecosystems

Have you ever considered what it would be like to take a crash course in ecology? In this SAC strand, scholars will investigate four ecosystems from the molecular level to the ecosystem level. We will examine the ecosystems of modern agriculture, woodlands, wetlands and waterways, and the urban environment through hands-on experience. For each of the ecosystems, scholars will take part in classroom, lab and field work to explore the various organisms and their relationships with one another to make each ecosystem possible. At the conclusion of the week, scholars will have a basic background in biological lab and field work, along with a basic understanding of ecosystem functioning and symbiosis. 

Instructors: Amanda Solem, PhD, Associate Professor of Biology, Hastings College and Tanner Jenkins, MS, Instructor of Biology, Chemistry and Microbiology, Central Community College 

A MARVELous Literary and Cinematic Journey

If you are first in line when a new Marvel movie is released and want to delve into the comics that inspired the popular films, this is the strand for you. During our week together, we will read excerpts from Marvel screenplays, compare the comic adaptations to the original comics, and critically analyze Marvel film scenes. Parents, if you are thinking "This class doesn't sound academic enough for my scholar." Don't worry. This class may focus on superheroes such as Captain America, Black Panther, and Captain Marvel, but scholars will also be comparing some of the famous hero and villain monologues to Shakespearean plays and will be developing their writing skills by writing short screenplays and movie reviews. By the end of this week, both scholars and parents will understand how marvelously academic Marvel is!

Instructor: Patrick White, MAT, English and Media Studies teacher, Gretna High School. Patrick has been a part of Scholars Academy for 5 years serving in various capacities including RA, teacher and assistant director.

Academy Schedule

Opening Day Sunday, June 23

3-3:45 p.m. — Residence Hall check-in (Clay Hall)

4-4:30 p.m. — SAC welcome to students and their parents in Cottonwood Room (Hall Student Union)

4:30-5 p.m. — Teachers meet with students and parents in their classrooms

5-5:30 p.m. — Parents depart and students get settled in their dorm room

5:30-6:30 p.m. — BBQ and games for students/ staff on lawn in front of Hall Student Union

6:30-7:30 p.m. — Social groups

7:30-8:30 p.m. — Opening class (classrooms)

8:30-9:30 p.m. — Social groups

9:30-10 p.m. — Residence hall time

10 p.m. — Lights out!

Daily Schedule for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday (June 24-26)

8-8:30 a.m. — Breakfast

8:30-11:30 a.m. — Class

11:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m. — Lunch

12:30-3:30 p.m. — Class

3:30-5 p.m. — Organized activity

5:30-6:30 p.m. — Dinner

6:30-7:15 p.m. — Social groups

7:30-9:30 p.m. — Evening group activity

9:30-10 p.m. — Residence hall time

10 p.m. — Lights out!

Final Day Thursday, June 27

8-8:30 a.m. — Breakfast

8:30-11:30 a.m. — Class

11:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m. — Lunch

12:30-3:30 p.m. — Class

3:30-4:30 p.m. — Residence hall checkout/parents pick up students


All questions for the Scholars Academy at Central should be directed to:

Dr. Susan Oliver, SAC Director, 550 Technical Blvd, P.O. Box 1024, Hastings, NE 68901-1024

Checkout our Facebook page to stay up to date with SAC and view photos and activities from previous years.

Camp Administration

Susan Oliver, Ph.D. (director), Nutrition Professor at Central Community College.  She has taught at Scholars Academy for 3 years.

Constance Malloy, Ph.D. (co-director), Professor of English at Hastings College. She has taught or directed at Scholars Academy for 15 years.