MHS to Offer New Summer Programs


Jisel Gomez, senior, at Girls State summer program. Photo courtesy of Jisel Gomez.

Michael del Rosario, Production Editor-in-Chief

For most students, summer break represents a time to relax, hang out with friends and put school as far away from their minds as possible. But for others, summer break does not constitute a break at all — it’s a chance to take advantage of once-in-a-lifetime opportunities that would not normally present themselves during the school year.

Academic summer programs offer a myriad of possibilities for students who wish to expand their horizons at colleges and organizations all over the country. MHS Literacy Center Specialist Hope Babowice has compiled a list of nearly two-dozen of these programs on a Google Doc database to help MHS students find an opportunity that suits them.

“I’ve tried to pick [programs] that are of interest to students and are nearby. There are programs in architecture, engineering, STEM, nursing and research just to name a few,” said Babowice.

Not only do summer programs help students pursue their interests in a specific subject area, but they also help foster important real-world skills. Staying at a college campus for the first time can push students out of their comfort zone by allowing them to thrive on their own.

“In particular, the American Legion holds mock-government programs called Girls and Boys State. You really find out about your strengths when you’re meeting hundreds of people who you never would have met before,” she added.

Senior Jisel Gomez spent her summer at Girls State, which was held at Eastern Illinois University. She said that the experience was both challenging and eye-opening in the search for her college and career path.

“We spent a week at the campus, and it was really cool to experience what life in college is like. I was able to experience what it’s like to live in the dorms, have a roommate,” explained Gomez.

The application process for Girls State was rigorous and closely mimicked an actual college application, consisting of an essay and a round of interviews. For students applying to summer programs, going through this application process can help prepare them when it comes time to apply to college.

“To apply to Girls State, I submitted a resume and wrote an essay. I also interviewed with people from the American Legion Auxiliary,” said Gomez.

Junior Sophie Fiore’s summer program allowed her to travel to Fairfax, Virginia, for the Washington Journalism and Media Conference at George Mason University. While exploring Washington D.C. and meeting Hoda Kotb of the “Today Show”, Fiore also got first-hand experience of what a career in journalism could be like.

“I really loved being able to see actual live broadcast journalists because I’m definitely interested in going into T.V. It also helped me to improve writing articles for yearbook,” Fiore said.

Aside from the educational aspect, participating in a summer program allows students to meet people from outside of their usual community, and these connections and friendships can last far beyond the summer.

“I met a lot of new people from around the country, which was really cool just to see how different we all are. . . . I created long-lasting friendships that I didn’t think that I would,” said Fiore.

As a student who has participated in multiple summer programs throughout high school, I can attest that they have helped me prepare for college and gain a deeper understanding of the professional journalism field. Travelling to Boston and Washington D.C. this past summer created many unique opportunities for me; I came back home with a clearer perspective of who I am and a group of friends from around the country who I stay in contact with every day.

If you are interested in participating in a pre-college summer program, please visit the Literacy Center’s database: