Lancer Leap

ELLSWORTH, MICHIGAN – For the eighth consecutive year, Ellsworth Community School students are taking part in the district’s award winning Lancer Leap project term.

Lancer Leap is a three week long project term program that allows students in grades K-11 to take part in enrichment elective opportunities which are not always possible within the confines of the traditional school curriculum.

This year’s middle/high school Lancer Leap classes include; canoe building, forest ecology, riddle making, Quidditch, Zumba, Yoga, mystery literature, theater, LEGO architecture, robotics, STEAM and sports, and many more.  While at the elementary school students will be rotating through three one-week classes.  Kindergarten and first will be participating in Rockin’ into Fun, Creative Science, and Farm to Table.  Students in second and third grades will take classes in Trash to Treasure, The Ellsworth Chocolate Company, and Building Character with the three C’s.  Finally, forth and fifth graders will take part in Project Smile, Fun and Games, and Fishing with Mr. Montgomery.

“Lancer Leap gives us the opportunity to expose our students to a vast array of educational offerings that are not always possible during the regular school year,” said ECS Superintendent, Aaron Gaffney.  “It’s really made possible by the creativity of our teaching staff, and the financial support provided by the Board of Education.”

Each winter ECS teachers meet to develop a fresh slate of Lancer Leap courses for the upcoming May term.  “Classes are determined by the interests and skills that our teachers have to share,” Gaffney indicated.  “Each year it’s important to offer students something new and fresh.”  Past classes have included canoe building, theater, Lego art, historical fiction, ecology, jazz band, stained glass, origami, and career explorations.

Students look forward to the Lancer Leap program for a variety of reasons.  “It is different because no other school does something like this,” said ECS sophomore Robbie Wise.  “It is something that everyone looks forward to.”  Fellow students Maggie Thorman and Emily Kelly agree.  “It is just a fun way to do things that you are interested in.”

“In order for a program like Lancer Leap to be successful you need to have an eager and willing staff,” “Gaffney indicated.  “It requires teachers to be extremely flexible and willing to take some risks.”  Being flexible and taking risks is something that all ECS teachers from preschool through high school have embraced.  “Lancer Leap is a way for me to share my passion for learning with students through unique experiences,” said ECS high school teacher, Jessica VanderHart.

Each year the Lancer Leap program culminates with a community event called the “Lancer Leap Showcase.”  At the showcase class projects are on display as well as live performances.  This year’s performances will include live theater, a canoe auction, a Zumba performance, and more.  The Lancer Leap Showcase is scheduled for the evening of June 7 with doors opening at 5:00 PM and live performances beginning at 6:00.

For more information on this program or Ellsworth Community School in general please contact Superintendent, Aaron Gaffney at 231.588.2544 or