A student works on his final project during a study hall at Summer Academy.

A student works on his final project during a study hall at Summer Academy.

From July 20 to August 2, 20 students from Hudson and Kingston High Schools went through a transformative experience on Bard’s beautiful campus. They were there for DTA’s Summer Academy, where they lived as college students for two weeks. Each day, students arose early from their dorms to take part in a variety of eye-opening, enriching, educational, and plain-old fun activities.

As part of Summer Academy, each student was enrolled in four courses that they attended each day. These were small,

Students work on their inventions during the Shark Tank course.

Students work on their inventions during the Shark Tank course.

discussion based classes with an emphasis on reading and writing. This summer’s first core course¬†was College 101, which focused on the educating students about the many details of the college application and financial aid process, while also providing them tools to spread this knowledge to their peers. The second course was Heroes, were students explored the idea of what made someone a person a hero, or an act heroic. The third core course was Shark Tank, where students build an invention from the ground up.

Students present their final project for the College 101 Course

Students present their final project for the College 101 Course

Students chose their fourth class for a three elective options. The first of these was Why Sports, a society class focused on the intersections of athletics, inequality, culture, opportunity, and structure. The second was Reading and Writing American Identities, which explored American short stories from different eras and culminated with students writing their own stories. The final elective was Be Heard, which compared works of arts and literature from the Harlem Renaissance with modern hip-hop music. Each course and elective had a final presentation which students worked hard on throughout the program during study halls each day. On the final day of the program, they presented these amazing projects.

Students enjoy a moment to relax during sunset at Blithewood Mansion

Students enjoy a moment to relax during sunset at Blithewood Mansion

Students at Summer Academy also were exposed to a variety of different activities and workshops throughout campus in order to let them experience how diverse college life can be. They took part in a different workshop every day. Highlights included a juggling workshop with a circus performer, as well as an activity where students learned from a professional photographer and received portraits. Students also had many joint activities with incoming freshmen from Bard’s Educational Opportunity Program (BEOP), including Hudson’s own Adrianna Tampasis who participated in DTA’s College Bound Program last year. These were opportunities to build connections with and learn from the stories of scholars who had overcome many challenges to reach the goal that our students are pursuing; a college education.

A student focuses on a free write during DTA Summer Academy

A student focuses on a free write during DTA Summer Academy

Throughout Summer Academy, students went on field trips that were both fun and educational. Highlights included a trip to the Bronx Zoo and Orchard Beach, as well as a trip to Soul Fire Farm. There, students learned about food injustice and how they could help promote healthier lifestyles within their home communities. On the final night, students celebrated the completion of their final projects by going bowling.

Summer Academy was a highly successful experience for all involved, as students really pushed themselves to accomplish complex and detailed work. We would like to celebrate them, as well as thank our donors that empowered to make this program a reality. Dream To Achieve will continue to work with these students during the year through our programs. Together, we will continue to build a college-going culture.

To see the two photo albums from DTA Summer Academy please click here.

Students and Staff celebrate the completion of Summer Academy in their graduation shirts!

Students and Staff celebrate the completion of Summer Academy in their graduation shirts

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