Accompanied by shouts of encouragement from their peers and instructors, 80 children participating in Howard Payne University's Summer Scholars and Young Scholars programs tried their skills Thursday on Howard Payne University's 35-foot-tall rock climbing wall.

Under the supervision of three instructors, children "harnessed up" and tried to make it to the top.

Thirty-two children in the Young Scholars — for grades 1-3 — tried climbing the wall, and in a different group, older Summer Scholars children took their turns. 

"Every kid has had the opportunity to climb and experience the climbing wall, and do something different that's fun to do that they can't really do anywhere else in Brownwood," said HPU professor Dr. Julie Welker, director of the Young and Summer Scholars programs. 

"We just try to give the kids different opportunities to do lots of different, fun things. We've been studying the body this week so this is really great to talk about mechanics, how your body works, how your muscles and all that kind of stuff work together."

The Young and Summer Scholars programs, which began Monday, end today with the passing out of awards. 

The theme for this summer's program was “Brainpower and the Body,” which included instruction in biology and the various functions of the body including the brain, heart, lungs, bones and muscles.

"This year we're super excited," Welker said. "We have 80 kids. That's the most that we've ever had for this program, so we're really thrilled that the community has gotten so involved, and is wanting to give their kids extra educational opportunities.

"We're excited already about next year. We've already got ideas about what theme we're going to do."

In the Summer Scholars program, students entering fourth through sixth grades study robotics, computer graphics, reading, biology and physical education. Young Scholars received instruction in music, biology, reading and physical education.