Summer College Institute 2013
Earlier this summer, Project GRAD Kenai Peninsula (PGKP) completed its 10th annual Summer College Institute. The program took place on the Kachemak Bay Campus of Kenai Peninsula College, a community campus system within the University of Alaska Anchorage. Thirty-seven scholars from seven different PGKP partner schools attended the free summer program, and spent 11 days packed with academic enrichment, leadership development, and art.
Executive Director of PGKP Mike Petersen is thrilled with the results of this year’s program, “The 2013 Summer College Institute was a great success. The students were actively engaged in learning not only valuable academic skills but great life skills that will help them succeed in their remaining years of high school and in their education beyond high school.”
The structured summer program ran all day, with academic courses focused on a STEAM curriculum (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Math) from 9am – 4:30pm and dorm life activities from 4:30pm – 9:30pm, while somehow providing students with plenty of flexibility about how they spent their time. For the academic morning session, students had the opportunity to select an area of study to give them a more in depth learning experience. They chose between Storytelling & Public Speaking (Language Arts/Communication), Practical Mathematics & Science in Rocketry (Applied Math & Science), Music Appreciation (Language Arts & Humanities), and Video Game Design (Math and Technology).
Following the academic morning session, students moved on to arts immersion, where they studied the practical, technical, and conceptual applications of their chosen art. Here they had the option of studying either Photography or Ceramics. Students in both sections then came together to partake in a Socratic Seminar focusing on D.J. Vana’s book, The Tiny Warrior. Students linked conversations about human nature and ancestry to questions about how we can contribute as much as we can to society.
Students also had the unique opportunity to attend two field trips as part of the program to gain a better understanding of the local land, as well as gain invaluable leadership skills. On June 8th, True North Kayak Adventure guided students on a sea kayaking trip and led lessons on local geology and biology. On June 10th and 11th at the AGEYA Homestead, students participated in the Phlight Club program, a renowned empowerment experience that guides students through activi
ties and the seven “phactors” that will help students connect with caring adults, problem solve, work together, and recognize and cultivate their leadership skills.
The Summer College Institute program concluded with an awards ceremony on June 14. Family members joined students and staff and watched as their scholars presented on 11 days of hard work. Scholars returned home with their families, excited about education, culture, and community.
Mr. Petersen notes that this year’s program was among the most successful of the past decade, explaining “This year’s Summer College Institute was one of our highest rated and student reviewed yet. The level of excitement and engagement among the students was extraordinary. It was great being able to include leadership and life skill development in the program this year. Research shows how important this is in the success of our youth.”