College For Kids a flying success

Ranger Randy explains to junior rangers how the Dinosaur National Monument was formed.

Ranger Randy explains to junior rangers how the Dinosaur National Monument was formed.
RANGELY I Colorado Northwestern’s College For Kids program wrapped up this week as six courses during three weeks taught 25 children what makes airplanes fly, who lives in desert environments and how to find buried treasure.
Six out of the seven scheduled College For Kids courses either reached capacity or exceeded the minimum enrollment. Youth football was canceled due to low numbers.
“I’m glad that the ones we focused on scholastically went so well,” community education coordinator Angie Miller said. “The two classes that maxed out, junior pilots and junior rangers, were unbelievably popular.”
Students in the junior pilots class toured the Rangely Airport and experienced the flight simulator. Then those kids who wanted to were taken on brief flights in one of the aviation technology department’s planes.
It was five-year-old Bryce Willis’ first time in an airplane.
“Bryce loved flying, especially since his dad had just taken a plane trip,” said his mother, Erin. “I’m really glad they offer these classes. It’s great to give your kids a couple of hours where they just get to go have fun.”
Having fun and learning happen naturally together in College For Kids, Miller said. Since students ranged in age from four to 12, instructors needed to use interactive, hands-on teaching methods to keep kids interested and involved.
“This was not just two-dimensional learning,” Miller said. “Kids were challenged to really use their imagination rather than just follow a template.”
Nine-year-old Kyra Phelps attended four of the six College for Kids classes. For her, the mad scientists course, in which students blew up cookies to demonstrate the high rate at which energy can be released, was a highlight. CNCC chemistry instructor Jay McLaughlin compared the fuses used to initiate the chemical reaction to those used to safely ignite dynamite.
“When her grandpa asked why they were teaching first-graders about dynamite, she looked at him and said, ‘This is not for first grade. This is for college,’” said her mother, Michelle. “It was great. She called me every day and told me step by step everything she’d done that day.”
Now that College For Kids has returned to CNCC — the program was popular in the late ‘90s under community education director Cheryl Blackburn — Miller plans to keep it going. The course schedule will change next year though there may be repeats from this summer’s lineup.
“I think having a range of classes around seven is a good number,” Miller said. “But I’d definitely love to amp it up if I can. We want to continue to use the resources of the area and the college. We have so many great programs we can highlight by offering kid versions of them.”
College For Kids may be over for the summer, but adult community ed classes happen throughout the year. A concealed carry certification course will be held on Saturday, Aug. 11. First aid/CPR and AED certification, living will and estate planning, and scuba I and II will be offered this fall. The college is currently accepting late registration for basic computers II, a course for “computerphobes” on Mondays from 6:30-8:30 p.m. And the Northwest Colorado Stargazers Club will be watching the Perseid meteor shower over the next week. The Page Turners Reading Club will also begin in the fall.
For a current schedule, go to the CNCC community education page on Facebook, where you can “like” the page to receive updates. The department also plans to have its own link on Colorado Northwestern’s main Facebook page this week.
To see a schedule online, go to and click on “Academics.” Select “Community” and choose “Rangely” from the left side of the page.