Community enjoying C of I Summer Programs

A dozen kids gathered onto the carpet of the Shannon Lounge and sat in a circle. One by one, in a counterclockwise pattern, they counted in Chinese, “yī, èr, sān, sì, wǔ, liù…,” until they reached the number 30. By the end of the week, they’d be counting even higher. 

“The fact that this class is offered on the C of I campus really enhances our culture,” said C of I English professor Dr. Rochelle Johnson, whose daughter Wren attended the class.

“I counted to 100 today,” Wren said after the last day of class.

Chinese Language for Children is just one of the community programs offered as part of a new initiative this summer at The College of Idaho. Children ranging in age from 4-11 years old spent the week with Adam Li, who teaches Chinese at Renaissance High School in Meridian.

The class, which had several children who were adopted from China in it, allows those kids to reconnect with their heritage, Li said.

“They get a little taste of China and Chinese,” he said.

During the week, the students practiced reading, writing and speaking in Chinese, along with activities such as paper cutting, learning how to use chopsticks and practicing the art of calligraphy, or “painting” as one 5-year-old girl put it.

“Forever, that’s what it means,” she explained after crafting a Chinese character with her brush and black ink.

And speaking of arts and crafts, another summer program that recently wrapped up was strip quilting for beginners.

On a Monday night, sewing machines, fabric, scissors, needles and thread filled a room as Jane Sparrell instructed six other women on how to put the binding on their quilts.

“I’m going to stitch, stitch, stitch down until I get to a quarter-inch from the end,” Sparrell said as the women eagerly watched.

They’d already finished their quilt tops, which hung about the room like square kaleidoscopic windows of various colors and fabrics. The ladies ranged from beginners with a little experience, to those encountering the joy of quilting for the first time; among them were several mother-daughter combos.

“It’s a super thing for the school to [offer this program],” said Suzy Johnson, a self-described quilter who is “one millimeter above a beginner.”

While these two classes have ended, a wide variety of programs for kids, teens, adults and seniors have yet to take place—ranging from literature and poetry to choir and even another quilting class.

The programs are three-to-four sessions in length and range in price from $55-160. A discount of 25 percent is available for C of I alumni, faculty and staff, Caldwell School District employees, seniors and veterans.

Click here for a list of all classes and registration!

Founded in 1891, The College of Idaho is the state’s oldest private liberal arts college. The C of I has a legacy of academic excellence, a winning athletics tradition and a history of producing successful graduates, including seven Rhodes Scholars and 14 Marshall, Truman and Goldwater Scholars. The College’s beautiful, residential campus is located in Caldwell. Its distinctive PEAK Curriculum challenges students to attain competency in the four knowledge peaks of the humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and a professional field—empowering them to earn a major and three minors in four years. For more information, visit