The Summer Journey summer school program is in full swing at the Union school district and children are striving to earn cash through perfect attendance.

Assistant Superintendent Dr. Scott Hayes said the summer program’s inaugural launch was a success and added that, while challenging, teachers and staff are getting along well with the new itinerary.

“Although the pace is fast and furious, our teachers are working very hard to make this a wonderful summer journey of learning,” Hayes said. “The lessons are fun and provide great learning opportunities for our kids. I believe the students truly are enjoying the opportunities to explore a variety of courses.”

Part of the challenge comes from the sheer number of students who are attending summer school this year because of the new program. Hayes said on the first day of summer school 1,187 students were signed up for the Summer Journey program. He said that number has lowered slightly to 1,083 since the launch.

The district had initially set a goal for 1,000 students. Last year, summer school only attracted roughly 500 students.

Hayes said the massive bump in attendance is partially thanks to the offered attendance incentives. Those incentives award students $100 for missing no days of summer school, $75 for missing only one day and $50 for missing no more than two days.

The program offers classes ranging from mathematics to drone training, and everything in between. Math, social studies, language arts, reading and science courses are all offered.

Middle School Student Carly Smurphat said she wasn’t expecting summer school to be fun but is excited to attend school every day.

“I was surprised at first. I wasn’t expecting it to be this fun,” Smurphat said. “I like being here to learn how the middle school works for next year. I am really glad I came.”

Smurphat’s mother, Lori, said she can tell her daughter is enjoying the summer program.

“Carly is coming home every day excited to tell us the things that she did that day like what they made in cooking class or what survival technique they learned. She really likes summer school,” Lori Smurphat said.

Summer classes run full days through June 30 at schools throughout the district.