Curwensville Area Jr./Sr. High School students participated in an obstacle course to end the first ever SAT Boot Camp Saturday. Students were divided into teams and the teams with the three fastest times were declared winners.

CURWENSVILLE — Rather than sleeping in or relaxing on a day off from school on Saturday, more than 30 Curwensville Area Jr./Sr. High School students were preparing for their future.

Some 33 sophomores and juniors attended an inaugural SAT Boot Camp designed to help them prepare for college entrance examinations. The training course was held at the district’s Makerspace.

Assistant Principal Matt Kephart said organizers were pleased with the attendance numbers.

“The fact that we have 33 students here on a Saturday morning is in and of itself a success.”

The goal of the five-hour event was to help students feel more at ease when taking their SAT tests. High school instructors provided the students with techniques, strategies and effective practices for test preparation. Participating students were divided into teams for the friendly competition where members solved questions they might experience on an SAT test during interactive games.

The morning of challenging their brains wrapped up with an obstacle courses filled with physical challenges students had to work through to complete. Those exercises provided an opportunity for participants to let off some steam. An awards ceremony concluded the event.

High School Principal Bill Hayward said the district wants to help students succeed and to put them at ease when they are taking the SAT test.

“High school students have little modeling for SAT preparation. Curwensville wants its students to stand out in the competitive world. Increased SAT scores add another dynamic to present and future goals for college-bound students. The district’s current advanced curriculum provides multiple dual-enrollment options but the rigor of the instruction leaves little room for specialized content, especially SAT instruction.”

The goal is to provide students with opportunities to prepare for the examinations, relieve anxiety associated with taking the test and provide resources to enhance student’s preparation for taking the SAT — all in a comfortable and convenient environment, Hayward explained.

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“If we can get these students success in increasing their SAT scores then this will have been a success. SATs are the tests that matter. They are what kids should be focusing on,” Hayward said.

Guidance counselor Jesse Husted said students participating Saturday came in ready to work.

“Their attitudes have been amazing,” he explained.

Once students who participated in Saturday’s boot camp take their SAT tests, which for some of them will be in the coming months, the district will compare the scores from those tests with each of the test takers first attempts at SATs, baseline school scores and final marks from the state system of school assessment tests to determine whether there was improvement and growth. Participants will also be asked for their input on Saturday’s event.

Hayward said there are other SAT preparation events but most have a cost associated with them ranging from $50 to $350. There was no charge for students to attend Saturday’s boot camp.

Hayward thanked the instructors and administrators who participated in Saturday’s event.

“I can’t thank them enough for giving up their Saturday to come in here to work with students. The district is fortunate in that it has great people to implement things like this. I am blessed to have the staff and staff I do.”

Husted thanked the district’s administrators for their support of the event. He said once the boot camp is over it will be evaluated to determine if changes would be more beneficial to students.