Lodi Unified Used Covid Funds to Send Kids to Camp — on a College Campus

Summer can be pretty slow in Lodi if you’re a teenager. There’s the pool, there’s pizza night at the teen center, and there’s TV.

But 240 high school students from Lodi Unified escaped boredom this summer when they spent two weeks at University of the Pacific, living in the dorms, socializing and taking classes on topics like music production, filmmaking, business investing and 3-D animation — all paid for with Covid relief funds from Lodi Unified.

The Central Valley district spent almost $800,000 of its federal Covid funds to send students to Pacific’s Summer High School Institute, a program that introduces high school students to the rigors and rewards of college life. The cost was $3,300 per student, which included housing, food, activities and classes taught by Pacific professors.

“This year kids were feeling discontented, but they couldn’t say exactly why. So we wanted to do something special for them,” said Mariya Wharry, Lodi Unified’s program manager. “We wanted to invest in something that would make kids say ‘wow.’”

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Find out more about University of the Pacific Pre-College Summer Programs