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CogniCon 2019: Express Yourself

CogniCon campers work together to make pupusas

CogniCon 2019: Express Yourself

Middle school AIG students filled the halls of Northside High School for the 4th annual CogniCon June 24-27. CogniCon, a “Cognitive Conference,” is a 4-day summer camp for middle school students from across Onslow County who have been identified as “academically gifted.” The theme of this year’s camp was “Express Yourself.” 

At this summer learning opportunity, 120 campers rotated through four modules that gave them hands-on experiences in music, visual arts, culinary arts, and STEM. 

A CogniCon camper makes pupusas

In years past, students would choose two of the four modules they were most interested in to participate in. This year, however, all campers were given the opportunity to experience all four areas of study. 

In the culinary classroom at NHS, students explored dishes from around the world and how cultures express themselves through food, making meals like pupusas while learning basic cooking and kitchen safety skills. In other parts of the school were students who learned about expression through music and art through activities like recreating STOMP-like musical numbers with brooms and creating art that they felt represented who they are.

CogniCon campers work on their STEM projects

While CogniCon has themes of the arts running throughout, it is about the integration of art and academics, so students also learned that the creations and gadgets they make in STEM learning environments are also forms of self-expression.   

Michael Elder, OCS director of career and college readiness, said that CogniCon is an important opportunity for gifted students to come together and learn from not only camp staff, but from each other as well. Mr. Elder said that learning is so much more than a classroom, and this camp gives students the opportunity to learn in ways they may have never experienced before.  

A CogniCon student works with her teacher in the musical arts module