KINGSTON — "Fantabulous" was Amy Stauffer's response to a question about the first annual ACT Up Workshop at Kingston High School.
The event, a seminar to help students prepare for the ACT college entrance examination, was attended by 24 KHS sophomores and juniors.
Stauffer was less interested in debating whether her response was actually a word and more interested in talking about the workshop, the first of its kind at Kingston. Four Kingston instructors served as clinicians at the all-day conference, where students received not only specialized instruction tailored specifically for the exam, but also a wealth of printed material for further study and preparation.
She said the response from students who attended was overwhelmingly positive.
"They loved it," Stauffer said. "It went better than expected. Any time you do something for the first time, you never know how it's going to go. But we were all very pleased."
Kingston teachers Marie Bramlett, Megan Cooper, Tammy Russell and Kelly Stottlemyre taught sessions all day long as students moved from room to room in regular intervals. Each instructor focused on a different area, and all emphasized general test-taking skills and preparation techniques
ACT Up was funded partially through GEAR UP Oklahoma, with the remainder of the money coming from sponsorships and donations. Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs is a federal/state initiative aimed at helping more students attend college.
Stauffer, Kelly Shipley and Katrina Williams serve on the Parent Leaders Association, the group that oversees GEAR UP projects at Kingston. Among those efforts was organizing the workshop.
Organizers said in addition to the youngsters who gave up their Saturday to learn more about how to succeed on the ACT, another dozen or more had expressed an interest, but were prevented from attending by other school events.
Shipley shared Stauffer's assessment of the inaugural ACT Up seminar.
"I thought it went great," Shipley said. "There are a few things we want to modify for next time, but for a first time, it was awesome."
The centerpiece of the workshop was a binder that each student received at the start of the seminar and then filled with materials they were given throughout the day. Organizers had spent numerous hours assembling and collating the information.
"They loved those binders," Stauffer said. "But we gave them so much stuff, they had trouble fitting everything into them, so we'll need bigger binders next time."
Another freebie likely to be treasured by attendees was the Texas Instruments scientific calculator given to each student by sponsor LEAM Drilling.
Another such workshop is planned for the fall.