Thursday, June 25, 2009

CTY - Day 1

In 1993, our son Chuck was accepted into the Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth summer program. When asked if he would like to go to the three-weeks-away-living-in-a-college-dorm camp, Chuck was hesitant. Then Laurie said, "What if one of us was there?" and he said, "Sure, then I would do it."

Though the program has been around since 1979, the Young Students portion was only in its second year and there were not many courses being offered. Laurie contacted the CTY office and offered a writing course that she, the college English professor, and I, the professional comic book writer, would co-instruct. (We proposed calling it "How to Write Good," based on a classic National Lampoon article, but the powers-that-be opted for Writing & Imagination instead.) She was told that if they had a dozen kids sign up, they would run the class. As it turned out, they ended up with six dozen...and ran three sections of the class in each of the two summer sessions.

That first summer, we both came down, with Chuck as well, who was enrolled in one of the math classes, for the orientation. Laurie taught the first week while I went home. (I was still on staff at DC Comics at the time, so I had to go to work in the "real world.") Then I came down and taught the second week and we swapped places again for the third, with me returning for the last day of the session and the parent conferences.

Since I enjoyed it more than Laurie did, we changed it around the second year. She taught the first week, then I came and did the second and third, the pattern we followed through 1998. Beginning in 1999, since I was no longer at DC, I did the entire six weeks on my own. Laurie was never a big fan of living in a dorm and, let's be honest, teaching a writing class wasn't anything different from what she was doing the rest of the year. I, on the other hand, found it great fun and a change from what I did the other 46 weeks. So much so that when I started working at Preload, and later at Accordant and Combined, I negotiated a leave so that I could continue my CTY summers.

I was not the only Rozakis on staff, however. In 1999 and 2000, Chuck joined on as a Teaching Assistant for the very same math class he had taken six years earlier. And in 2005, Sammi signed on as a Resident Assistant, moving up to Senior RA for 2006 through '08. (We are most probably the only family that has had every member employed by CTY; certainly we're the only family that has been at the Chestertown site.)

And now another CTY summer is here. I am living once again in the same dorm room I have occupied since 2001. There are a number of familiar faces and, as always, a variety of new ones as well. We will go through two days of orientation (parts of which some of us can recite by heart) and on Sunday, our first batch of students will arrive. That is when the fun begins.


  1. "How to Write Good?" That would be "Gee, oh, oh dee," wouldn't it?

  2. "Dear Mr. Good,

    In reference to your comment of last Sunday..."

    Nah, I guess that wouldn't work either.

    Thanks for helping to teach our kids, Bobro. Glad to see someone enthusiastic about it!

    I reamin,
    Eric L. Sofer
    The Silver Age Fogey