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Oakes's Corner

Summer Programs Abound

By Oakes Hunnewell, Ed.M., CEP

Summer Programs

Though there is still time, 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.

Colleges are looking for students who are both proficient in English and who have a passion that they have explored and further developed. Not all students can identify their own passions but a curious mind is also one that is willing to explore its many interests. For international students, it is recommended that the younger middle school and lower upper school students choose programs that will give them academic and language enrichment. Many of these programs occur on boarding school campuses. As the students mature and develop some interests that go beyond language and traditional academic subjects, they should begin to explore opportunities that further build on their skills foundation. They are also encouraged to experience more independence. College campuses offer summer programs that allow students to broaden their knowledge in academic and non academic fields in an environment that is less structured. There are also non affiliated programs focusing on specific interests. Below are some examples of programs for both middle and upper school students.


Summer Boarding Programs for Middle and High School Students

Academic Enrichment, Writing, SAT Prep

7th-12th graders

English as a Second Language (ESL), Writing and Literature, Journalism, Theater, Economics, US History, Math, Ceramics, Public Speaking, SSAT Prep +SAT Prep-;;

8th-11th graders

Academic Enrichment, Theater Arts, English as a Second Language(ESL), Environmental Science, Filmmaking, Science, Marine Biology, Math, Writing Workshop, Community Service-;;
Writing, Academic enrichment, Studio Arts, SSAT Prep, Foreign Language –;;

Creative and Visual Arts Programs

5TH-12TH graders

Dance, Theater Arts, Visual Arts, Writing, Film, Photography, Mixed-Media-;;;
Academic Enrichment, Theater Arts, Economics, Foreign Language, Visual Arts, Humanities
Grades 6-9 –Wellesley College
Grades 10-12 Yale University

Outdoor Education

Grades 7-12;


Summer residential Programs for Rising 11th and 12th graders


Earth watch- Science field work-

Embry Riddle- Aerospace Engineering-

Crow Canyon- Archeological Excavations-

La Sabranenque- Archeological Excavations-


New York Film Academy-

SOCAPA at Pace University-

Main Media Workshop- Digital design, Game design-

Digipen- Digital design, Game design-


Eisenhower Institute- Leadership activities, current events courses and guest speakers-


Youth Leadership Forum- Leadership activities, current events courses and guest speakers -


Brown University- On campus living, college style courses-


Babson Entrepreneurial Program- Experiential Product development, marketing and finance-


Overland- Group travel-

NOLS- Wilderness survival-

Outward Bound- Wilderness survival-