NKU to Host 32nd Annual DreamFest March 9

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. Though Northern Kentucky University’s students may not have classes on Thursday, March 9, due to Spring Break, the Highland Heights campus will still be bustling with student activity as nearly 800 of the region’s brightest elementary and middle school students will participate in DreamFest, an annual day of learning and enrichment for students in grades 4-8.  

This year’s event marks the 32nd installment of Dreamfest, which NKU will again host for students from 16 local public school districts in six northern Kentucky counties. The event is organized by the Northern Kentucky Association of Gifted Educators (NKAGE) in conjunction with the Northern Kentucky Cooperative for Educational Services and NKU’s College of Education and Human Services.

“Since its inception, DreamFest has been providing the opportunity for gifted students from our region to interact with like-minded peers while engaging in enriching activities and thought provoking dialogue. This is an event that my students look forward to each year and very much appreciate the professionals who come and share their expertise," said Michelle Lustenberg, co-president of NKAGE and a teacher in Pendleton County Schools.

This year’s main presentation will be from The Kincaid Regional Theatre. Kincaid Regional Theatre is a semi-professional theatre company located in Falmouth, Ky. The theatre is committed to excellence while utilizing regional talent and providing educational opportunities in the arts. At DreamFest, Kincaid’s actors and members of the creative team will share their experiences and inspire students through musical performances, storytelling, and high energy interaction that will bring students onstage. While the session will be mostly performance based, the group will inform on some technical theatre elements, including costuming and prop creation.

Students will also participate in breakout sessions aligned to their area of giftedness, from language arts and mathematics, to performing arts and leadership. Between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m., more than 40 breakout sessions will be offered in 10 areas of giftedness. Local professionals and teachers volunteer their time to lead the breakout sessions.

DreamFest began in the mid-1980’s with a focus upon the performing arts; the event has taken many forms through the years, but has always called NKU its home. Dr. Cindy Reed, both the dean and a professor in the NKU College of Education and Human Services, always looks forward to this event.  

“We are excited to host DreamFest on NKU’s campus again this year and look forward to welcoming over 750 students, representing 16 area school districts. DreamFest is always an incredible learning and exploration opportunity for the students who attend and an important time for us to showcase the great facilities, programs and people at NKU.”  

Her colleague, Dr. Roland Sintos Coloma, chairman of the Department of Teacher Education, also recognizes the importance of continuing to host this event at NKU.  

“DreamFest offers an incredible, one-of-a-kind experience to students in the northern Kentucky region. With innovative sessions in art and music, literacy and social studies, STEM, creativity and leadership, the conference will tap into students’ myriad interests, and will enable them to explore other passions and possibilities. For those involved in Gifted and Talented programs, this is a must-attend event!”  

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