Wesleyan Summer Gifted Program
Wesleyan Summer Gifted Program
Since the first camp in 1983, the Wesleyan Summer Gifted Program has been committed to fostering the development of gifted adolescents in the quantitative, verbal, and social areas. The teachers are all college professors who possess a special interest in gifted education. Our program offers the same educational opportunity for the gifted as similar summer programs throughout the United States, but at a fraction of the cost. Classes are challenging, yet fun. Creativity is emphasized and channeled both directly and indirectly. Many campers return year after year.
About UsWho We Are
The Wesleyan Summer Gifted Program is dedicated to developing the talents of academically advanced middle- and high-school students. The students in our program comprise the most promising minds of the next generation. At the WSGP, bright students have the chance to participate in challenging educational opportunities. They will also find a safe, welcoming circle of peers, mentors, and teachers who understand gifted students and gifted education practices. They will make lifelong friends who share their passion for learning.History
The Wesleyan Summer Gifted Program was started in 1983 by Dr. Joseph Wiest, a Physics professor at West Virginia Wesleyan College, and his wife, Dr. Jeanie Wiest, a pediatrician. Their two sons had attended gifted programs at Ivy League colleges and they were certain that they could create a program with the same academic rigor and educational experiences, but at a fraction of the cost. West Virginia Wesleyan College is an elite, private, liberal arts college and members of the faculty were eager to teach for the Summer Gifted Program. The first camp was partially funded by the NASA – West Virginia Space Grant Consortium and had only 12 students, but the program grew over the years to upwards of 100 students each summer, requiring multiple two-week camps to accommodate the demand. WSGP students hail from all around the United States and even some international students have attended our program.
Dr. Joseph Wiest, Program Founder
Dr. Wiest is a professor and former chairman of the Department of Physics & Engineering at West Virginia Wesleyan College. He has taught physics and mathematics to gifted children from third grade to high school. Dr. Wiest teaches Intermediate Computer Science and Advanced and College Prep Computational Astrophysics and Mathematics for the WSGP.
Dr. Tracey DeLaney, Program Director
Dr. DeLaney is an associate professor of Physics at West Virginia Wesleyan College. She began teaching for the Wesleyan Summer Gifted Program in 2010 and became director in 2019. Dr. DeLaney is also director of the West Virginia Wesleyan College planetarium and gives general astronomy shows to audiences of all ages. Dr. DeLaney teaches Elementary Computer Science and Elementary and Intermediate Physics in our curriculum.
Mr. Andrew Irvin, Head Counselor
Mr. Irvin is a senior physics major and is also completing an MBA at West Virginia Wesleyan College.Our Awesome Faculty
Dr. Joseph Wiest is the founder and consultant of the program. Dr. Wiest is professor and former chairman of the Department of Physics and Engineering at West Virginia Wesleyan College. He has taught physics and mathematics to gifted children from third grade to high school. His wife, Dr. Jeanie Wiest, is a pediatrician. They are the parents of two gifted sons. Dr. Wiest teaches Intermediate Computer Science and Advanced and College Prep Computational Astrophysics and Mathematics for the Wesleyan Summer Gifted Program.
Dr. Katharine Antolini offers courses in American History and Gender Studies at West Virginia Wesleyan College. She is a graduate of West Virginia Wesleyan College and holds an M.A. in Sociology from Rutgers University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in History from West Virginia University. She specializes in the field of women’s history and has published articles on the role of Confederate women in the American Civil War and the history of American holidays. She was one of the featured speakers of the WV Humanities Council’s 2014 Sesquicentennial Speakers Bureau commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. Her talk, “Mothers of Martyrs: Woman and Civil War Commemoration,” highlighted the role that women played in the creation and celebration of Memorial Day, Emancipation Day and Mother’s Day in the wake of the war. Her book, Memorializing Motherhood: Anna Jarvis and the Struggle for Control of Mother’s Day, was published by the West Virginia University Press in Fall 2014. Dr. Antolini teaches History at all levels for the Wesleyan Summer Gifted Program.
Dr. Kim Bjorgo-Thorne grew up in Florida, and came to West Virginia in 1999 to pursue a Ph.D. in fisheries ecology. Her undergraduate degree is from the University of Florida. She has worked as a research diver with the Florida Regional Reef Project and also worked for the Florida Marine Research Institute. She earned an M.S. degree from Clemson in fisheries, with a minor in statistics. In 2006, Dr. Bjorgo-Thorne completed her Ph.D. dissertation on the spatial ecology of fish in the Kanawha River, and began teaching at West Virginia Wesleyan College in 2006 in the department of Biology and Environmental Science. Dr. Bjorgo-Thorne’s childhood experiences with Florida’s diverse plant and animal life were the biggest factors in her pursuing a career in environmental science, especially water-related, issues. Her passion is teaching, with a focus on the remarkable resilience and innate fragility of this small island we live on: planet Earth. Dr. Bjorgo-Thorne teaches Environmental Science at all levels for the Wesleyan Summer Gifted Program.
Dr. Tracey DeLaney grew up in Minnesota and served 3 years in the US Army upon graduating from high school. She earned her B.S. and M.S. in Physics from New Mexico Tech and she earned her Ph.D. in Astrophysics from the University of Minnesota in 2004. Dr. DeLaney held post-doctoral appointments at Harvard and MIT before coming to West Virginia in 2009. She is currently an Associate Professor of Physics at West Virginia Wesleyan College. For her research, she studies supernova remnants, which are the remains of exploded stars, i.e. star guts. Dr. DeLaney is also director of Wesleyan’s planetarium and gives general astronomy shows to audiences of all ages. In 2019, Dr. DeLaney took over as director of the Wesleyan Summer Gifted Program. Dr. DeLaney teaches Elementary Computer Science and Elementary and Intermediate Physics for the Wesleyan Summer Gifted Program.Eric Roy is a graduate of West Virginia Wesleyan College and will be teaching math for us this summer. While a student at Wesleyan, Eric was an active ambassador for the Science Public Outreach Team and has given presentations to hundreds of students in West Virginia as part of that program.
Mr. Robert Howsare is an Assistant Professor and Department chair for the Art & Design Department at West Virginia Wesleyan College. Informed by a background in psychology and commercial printing, Robert Howsare’s interdisciplinary work explores failure and the glitches occurring within systems. He received his BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute and an MFA from Ohio University.
His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally; select venues include the Grand Rapids Art Museum, the Austrian Cultural Forum of New York, Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Urban Institute of Contemporary Art and the International Print Center of New York. Howsare’s work has been recognized by WIRED Magazine, Abitare International Design Magazine, HOW, and other publications. Most recently his work has appeared in The Art of Tinkering, Meggs’ History of Graphic Design and on Adult Swim. Awarded artist residencies include the Charlotte Street Foundation Studio Residency, Vermont Studio Center, and Prairieside Cottage.
Check-in and Check-Out Procedures
Check-in is Sunday, June 18 at Fleming Hall between 1:00 and 4:00 p.m. Parking is behind the building.
The Welcome Packet contains a letter to parents explaining policies, directions, what to pack, the health form, and other forms. This packet is sent electronically after parents register their students.
Parents are expected to pay the remaining balance of their child’s camp experience at check-in.
Check-out is Saturday, July 1 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. The dorm must be empty and clean by noon.
During check-out, faculty will be on hand for informal parent-teacher conferences. Essays, tests, homework, etc are handed back so you can see what your child has been up to for the last two weeks. Although our faculty often attend the Talent Show on Friday night, we cannot guarantee that families will be able to consult with faculty if they choose to check out on Friday after the Talent Show.
Students will also be given their program certificates and group photos at check-out.
There may be fees for room damages or lost keys. It is vitally important for parents to check their child’s room at check-in. Inspect all furniture for damage, make sure all drawers work properly, check for writing on the walls or other damage, check that the door lock works fine, check the operation of the closet door, inspect the bathroom attached to your child’s room for damage and that everything works fine. Any damage you find will be noted so that no fees are incurred at check-out.
Students are in class from 9:00 A.M. to noon and from 1:00 to 4:00 P.M. There is a supervised study hall where part of the assignments are completed each evening from 8:00 to 10:00 P.M. Lights out in the dorm is 11:00 P.M. following a quiet time from 10:00 to 11:00 P.M.
Day campers are encouraged to participate in the evening activities before heading home for the night.
Supplies: In addition to paper and pens/pencils, we recommend that your child bring a calculator and a backpack. If your student would like to bring a laptop computer or ipad, that is fine, but the Wesleyan Summer Gifted Program is not responsible for these items.
Smartphones: We recognize that prying the smartphone from your child’s hand might cause broken bones (yours, not theirs) and so we have learned to deal with them in class. Some faculty prefer that the smartphones stay off and in the backpack while other faculty allow their use for specific classroom exercises. We would appreciate if you have a discussion with your child about smartphones and courtesy before the start of camp.
The creative process is stressed both directly and indirectly in our program. We often invite guests from the community to share their work with our students. During recent years, a variety of artists, including poets, film producers, water-colorists, musicians, and potters have all made presentations. We place a spotlight on student creativity with a talent show on the last evening of the program.
Students are grouped according to grade and ability level and attend classes from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. each day, with a lunch break at noon. Our program offers classes in mathematics, physics, computer science, creative writing, history, and environmental science. Typically, students are grouped by grade as follows:
- Elementary: 5th and 6th grade
- Intermediate: 7th and 8th grade
- Advanced: 9th and 10th grade
- College Prep: 11th and 12th grade
Professors will adjust difficulty levels for students on an individual basis within each class. A major component of our curriculum focuses on integrating mathematics, physics, and computer science. Students perform physics experiments, learn the mathematical concepts behind them, and then use computer programming to model the problems.
With the goal of increasing verbal skills, we emphasize in-class discussion, use of library resources, oral presentations, and written essays in both creative writing and social studies courses. Although formal letter grades are not used, feedback is given in the form of written comments on papers and informal conferences with parents at the end of the program. Students typically excel in this academic setting where they are surrounded by peers with similar talents and abilities.
Click on the link for each group above to see detailed course descriptions.
Any individual who has been tested by his or her school and declared gifted, or who scores at the 97th percentile or above on the verbal or mathematics section on a standardized achievement test is considered gifted for the purpose of our program. Note that enrollment in a school gifted program is not a requirement for participating in the Wesleyan Summer Gifted Program.
Enrollment is limited to about 50 students to facilitate a student-teacher ratio of approximately 10:1. Applications will be accepted in the order received.
For the Musically Inclined
Practice Rooms are located across campus in Loar Hall, if students would like to bring a musical instrument to practice, or need a stage to prepare for the talent show. Pianos are available on the lower floor.
Location and Access
The Wesleyan Summer Gifted Program takes place on the campus of West Virginia Wesleyan College, which is located in Buckhannon in north-central West Virginia in the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains.The city of Buckhannon has a current population of about 5500 people. It was established as a town in 1816 along the Buckhannon River. One of the new initiatives for Buckhannon is incorporating the arts in city planning with numerous public art sites in town. The city recognize the benefits arts programming brings to citizens and the power that art has to transform lives and bring joy to others. Buckhannon also hosts Festival Fridays at Jawbone Park downtown in which music, entertainment, children’s activities, and demonstrations are featured each Friday during the summer months. This is a favorite event for our campers each summer.
Buckhannon is linked to Interstate 79 by Route 33, which is a 4-lane divided highway. Buckhannon is only a few hours away from major cities such as Charleston, WV, Pittsburgh, PA, and Washington, DC.
For campers coming from much farther away, there is a regional airport located 35 miles away in Clarksburg, WV and larger airports located in Morgantown, WV (65 miles away), Charleston, WV (110 miles away), and Pittsburgh, PA (140 miles away).
Other Gifted Organizations
Here we provide links to other organizations or information for gifted students and their parents.
Besides academics, the camp offers extensive facilities: a swimming pool, basketball and tennis courts, baseball and soccer fields, a walking trail, a full library, a planetarium, and a new arts center. Activities include movies, guest speakers, group activities, two short trips off campus, and a talent show at the end of camp. A particular favorite of our campers is attending Festival Friday at Jawbone park in downtown Buckhannon which features music, entertainment, and other activities. Day campers are encouraged to attend our weekend activities.
Students are supervised in the residence hall by college-age counselors who are selected on the basis of academic and leadership skills, and are directly responsible to the Administrator and Director.
Students will be housed in Fleming residence hall. They are paired with age-mates and the boys and the girls are on separate floors. The residence hall is air conditioned. Students may bring fans, but it is not necessary to bring them. There are laundry machines in the residence halls for $1.25/load, payable by quarters or credit/debit card.
Students may also bring refrigerators, and a small amount of food. Caffeine is not allowed. Caffeinated drinks and copious amounts of junk food will be confiscated.
Safety, Security, and Health
Student safety, security and health are our first priority. The city of Buckhannon, WV has a population of about 5500 and crime rates are very low in this rural setting. Campus security officers are available 24 hours a day and conduct regular rounds. Students are always accompanied by a counselor or staff member on and off campus. Our staff, faculty, and counselors have all passed background checks and our counselors are certified in first aid, including CPR training. The Campus health center is staffed by nurses and in the event of a medical emergency, the local hospital is only one mile away.
Because West Virginia Wesleyan College is affiliated with the United Methodist Church, we also adhere to the “Safe Sanctuary” Policy developed by the West Virginia Conference of the UMC. This policy sets standards for the supervision of children, permission and liability release forms, cyber safety, and all activities involving children.
Food Allergies: Several campers each year have food allergies. Our dining hall Executive Chef works with each family to ensure that foods containing allergens are clearly marked or not served at all if a child has a particularly strong allergy.
Bullying: We have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to bullying. In addition to being standard awkward teens, our students are also nerdy and have typically experienced bullying at home. Our program is meant to be a safe place where awkward, nerdy teens can revel in being who they are. Bullying and disrespectful behavior will not be tolerated.
Tuition, Fees and Financial AidTuition
Residential: The residential tuition for the Wesleyan Summer Gifted Program is $1300. This tuition covers the full two-week program including room, board, all facility fees, and all instructional costs.
Day Camper: The day camper tuition will be discounted by $260 for not staying in the dorm. If a day camper chooses to eat breakfast at home each day, a further discount of $65 will apply for the two weeks. Day campers may also choose to bring lunch and dinner with them each day for an additional discount of $65 each for the two weeks.
Families who send more than one child will receive a multi-student discount of 10%.
If a family would like to send a student, but can only afford one week, we recommend sending your child for the 1st week of the program. The one-week tuition for a residential camper is $850. Day camper discounts would be half of those listed above.Fees
T-shirts: Our students love creating their own tie-dye t-shirt each year. The t-shirt sports the Wesleyan Summer Gifted Program logo. If your child would like to participate in this activity, then an extra $10 fee is charged at registration to cover the cost of the t-shirt and the tie-dye materials.
Lost Keys: West Virginia Wesleyan College will charge a lock replacement fee of $75 for lost keys.
Room Damage: Dorm rooms are inspected prior to check-in and again at check-out. If any damage to the room or furniture has occurred during the two weeks, an assessment will be made of the damage and West Virginia Wesleyan College will charge an appropriate damage fee.Payment Processing FeesWest Virginia Wesleyan College will charge a non-refundable 2.25% Credit/Debit Card Convenience Fee, with a $1.00 minimum, on debit/credit card payments made through ACI/Official Payments. A $1.00 non-refundable fee will be charged for all ACH/Echeck payments. All convenience fees are charged by and paid directly to ACI/Official Payments during the payment process.Other Costs
Spending Money: While not absolutely necessary, we do recommend that you give your child some spending money. We do make two off-campus excursions and the students love wasting money on inane items at our local Goodwill store. Your child may also need to buy batteries or a pen, for example. We recommend about $50 in spending money, perhaps more if your child likes late-night pizza.
Need-Based Financial Aid and Scholarships
We recognize that although our tuition rate is the least expensive in the US, many families still cannot afford our program. While we cannot offer financial aid every year, from time to time a family or organization steps forward and donates scholarship money. When we receive donations, we will then announce on this web site the financial assistance available, the instructions for applying for financial aid, and the due dates for the applications.
Any financial assistance is not intended to cover the total cost of a student’s attendance at the Wesleyan Summer Gifted Program, but with assistance from their local school, family members, church members, and businesses in their community, perhaps their financial needs can be met.
There are quite a few other contests, awards, and scholarship opportunities for gifted children. Most of these are compiled on the Hoagies’ Gifted Education Website.
Please check back periodically for updates and information on financial assistance, scholarship opportunities, and fundraising ideas.
Because we must confirm attendance for the program the week prior to check-in, we are unable to make program refunds to students who cancel after June 9th.
Under no circumstances will the Wesleyan Summer Gifted Program refund the $200 deposit due with your registration
Before June 9th, any tuition paid is refundable (minus the deposit)
After June 9th, no refund will be given