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Oakes's Corner

Summer Opportunities Abound

By Oakes Hunnewell, Ed.M., CEP

Though we are in the throes of winter, I am beginning to schedule meetings with some of my families who are inquiring about summer programs. Summer is a perfect time of year for further exploration, enrichment and adventure and each year, I sit down with my students individually and discuss their plans. By now, I have a good idea of what excites them.

Take Robert for instance. Robert likes science and history, more specifically, military history. He is fascinated with weapons and stories of past conquests. One afternoon last year, Robert came storming into my office with his lap top. He turned it on and showed me an article about Richard the Third’s body being discovered under a parking lot in England. “Imagine being there,” he said. “Imagine being the one to find something like that!” His excitement was genuine and contagious. We set off to find opportunities that would give him this sort of experience. We found Earthwatch, an organization looking for high school students to assist scientists in their field work. To our delight, Earthwatch was offering a one-week expedition to the UK to excavate for Roman artifacts. Robert applied for the program and was admitted.

There are many opportunities for teenagers to further explore their interests in the summer. Not all of them are program-related. Students can be creative on their own. Tim, for instance, liked journalism and photography. He spent his summers on a lake in the town where his father had grown up. With his father’s help, Tim was able to secure an internship with the town’s local newspaper. His duties included some office work and taking photos to go along with the stories printed in the paper. Tim had access to the newsroom and was able to observe how journalists worked, and soon he was finding stories of interest around town and following police reports. He also was able to use digital equipment to create a portfolio of his work to take with him at the end of the summer.

Summer provides many opportunities for students to develop and pursue their passions and skills. For more ideas, go to Feel free to contact me as well. I can be reached at 508-650-4600. Or

Earthwatch Institute-


Earthwatch Institute is a non-profit organization located in Massachusetts. Its main purpose is to provide scientists doing field research with the man power they need to conduct their work. Earthwatch offers expeditions for teens and adults, typically one to two weeks in duration and running throughout the year. The wide range of teenage expeditions take place during the summer months. Participants may choose to work with shovels at archeological digs or take water samples in the Amazon River.

Expeditions are theme based and relate to culture, climate change, ocean health, animals and ecosystems. Sample expeditions are-
Encounter the Pre-historic People of New Mexico
Climate Change at the Arctic Edge
Recovery of the Great Barrier Reef
Carnivores of Madagascar


To get involved or to find out more about Earthwatch, please call their toll free number .  With the help of his father, Tim was able to secure an internship with the town’s local newspaper.  at 800-776-0188. I am also available to answer any questions.