Our Lake Today: A milestone program’s leader retires

Bart Gulshen, a man who has been teaching for almost 10 years now, has been leading the gifted program of Camdenton, or “Capstone,” for eight years. But now sadly he’s retiring at the end of the year. And based off of his students’ opinions, he’ll be a serious loss for the program.

Gulshen originally started in the gifted program because his kids were identified gifted. And every morning his kids had Capstone they would be smiling and bubbly, excited for the day. Gulshen remembers thinking to himself how he wanted to be a part of a school pull-out program that kids were so excited to be a part of every week.

Gulshen is a huge advocate of after-school programs. He feels that it is the worst thing ever for children to come home and say they learned nothing. So he feels that schools and teachers should provide after-school programs such as Robotics or Math Club so that no kid will come home saying they learned nothing.

Ever since he has joined Capstone, he has emphasized the idea of hands-on work and practical uses, such as his stream team unit where he takes kids to different creeks around Missouri, to test and observe streams in an effort to keep it safe. It teaches kids the importance of our watershed, as well as how to check on it and why to keep it safe.

As everyone has his or her favorite things, his favorite thing to teach in Capstone is filmmaking. He enjoys letting the kids go be themselves and seeing the incredible stuff they come up with using their creativity. He also loves teaching Extempore, a competition where kids go and compete with different skits they come up with and puzzles they have to solve in order to get a higher score.

Gulshen has a few quotes by which he teaches. One of them being, “If you are not making mistakes, you are not working on hard enough problems,” by Frank Wilczek. He believes in only working on problems hard enough to test your brain, such as the Robotics program he is a part of that promises to stretch kid’s minds. Another example would be the puzzle day his kids take a part of every Friday, where kids solve puzzles in the fastest time possible. The better you do, the higher your classes score. The winning class gets a reward at the end of every semester.

Now people may ask if a gifted program necessary for schools. Capstone is a place where the kids can be themselves and not be expected to have all A’s, where they can express themselves without being considered a class nuisance. It is a place where his kids can stretch their brains, and dive deep into the subject because capstone makes it fun.

Gulshen has been a huge asset to this program, and he will be greatly missed.

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