A two-week course in optics has been developed and taught as part of the APEX program at the University of Arizona. APEX, (Academic Preparation of EXcellence), is an early-outreach program for minority students in the middle schools of the greater Tucson area. APEX targets financially disadvantaged students who posses skills necessary to be successful in higher education beyond high school. The program promotes academic confidence and career awareness through school-year meetings, field trips, a speakers' bureau, and a summer day camp. The optics course described in this paper has been taught over the last four years to middle school students in the APEX summer camp. The optics course presented is a micro-version of the optics courses taught as part of the B.S. program i Optical Engineering at the University of Arizona. The APEX optics class contains a successful mixture of theory and hands-on demonstrations. Proof of this success is evident at the end of every summer session when, after two weeks and forty hours of optics, the students are eager to learn even more about the world of optics.