From my first day at Saturday Academy only two weeks ago, I started hearing rumors of a mysterious and terrifying place. These rumors, along with sly comments on the hours the interns would spend in this dark (and potentially smelly?) place made my toes curl.
As the adults began giving six of us newbies a campus tour, they told us a story of the previous year; as the middle of summer began to approach, and the streets began to heat up, so did the Saturday Academy supply garage. One day, an intern was sent over to gather some pipe cleaners for a class the following week. Blissfully innocent, he opened the door to the garage to be greeted by a foul stench and the nightmare inducing sight of exploded frog and squid corpses. The specimen packages had burst in the baking sun and splattered the walls with oozing slime. He ran back to the office, nearly in tears, telling all of what he had seen. Luckily, the SA staff did not make him clean it up. But it was too late, they say, he was never the same.
On the third day of our orientation it was decided that we, the interns, should finally come face to face with what was bound to be our summer arch nemesis. Sophie, Skye and I were the first to make the grueling trek along the edge of the University of Portland campus towards the alley that holds the garage.
When we finally arrived, it looked fairly nondescript and was lacking the stench I had been expecting. We opened the door to see shelves full of boxes, microscope cases and a table covered in various toys. It may have been a bit chaotic, but I breathed a long sigh of relief.
Over the next few hours we worked to organize the shelves and pack up some of the materials that were laying around in order to make it possible to walk through the small space. During this time I got to witness, and play with, a huge spectrum of ingredients. As it turns out, in order to run Saturday Academy’s summer class program it is necessary to keep a supply of at least 1,000 plastic straws, copious amounts of synthetic blood and assorted colors of licorice.
Instead of taking up residence in my nightmares, the garage turned out to be a good example of the scope of the organization I was about to become involved in. From animal photography classes, to the science of Harry Potter, to computer camp for girls, Saturday Academy does anything and everything to get kids excited about science and the wonders of the world around them. The various knick-knacks mixed in with high quality lab gear, show beautifully the possibilities that arise from fun-filled, technically complex, summer science escapades.