Mother’s Day is a national holiday in Costa Rica. To honor our Costa Rican surrogate mothers, both staff moms and homestay mothers who provide our students with needed hugs and plates of delicious food, NSA holds an annual Mother’s Day Dinner.
This year, staff and homestay moms were treated to five-star service, receiving invitations to join students for a formal dinner on campus. While the gourmet meal was prepared by our chefs, our students did not sit idly by. NSA’s young gentlemen were each charged with hosting a different mother, serving and clearing her dishes, engaging her in conversation, and some brave students even hit the dance floor with their guests!
Many thanks to the Experiential Education team and to Daisy, our Cultural Coordinator, for organizing this wonderful event to recognize just how important our Costa Rican moms are to our community at NSA!
New Summit Academy’s students and staff have just returned from an inspiring round of Integrated Aventuras: Community Service in the Osa Peninsula, kayaking the Golfo Dulce, and hiking through Corcovado National Park. Each Aventura – integrated with Experiential Education activities, engaging Academic classes, and Personal Growth work – challenges students to step outside of their comfort zone to develop important life skills while surrounded by the beauty of Costa Rica.
Below are some of the trip highlights.
Golfo Dulce Kayak Aventura
Exploring Corcovado National Park
by Kelly Weld, NSA therapist
I was having one of those incredible moments last week when I found myself surfing at sunset with Nico. Our Surf Club heads to South Jaco every week, which may be my favorite part of the job (which says a lot). I’ve been out in many different conditions: the perfect 4’ rollers in which everyone feels like a professional; big waves in which many of us ride the white water (when we clearly are not professionals), or even flat calm days in which there are no waves to catch, but everyone still feels the magic.
There is a particular bond that happens between people over a surf outing: first the anticipation and shared excitement on the drive to the beach, and then the stories told over post-session pizza. It is during these activities where some of my best student connections are made. Paddling in the warm water under a rose-covered sky, I watched Nico return to the lineup after surfing the last set. He grinned at me, happy and proud of the wave he caught, while clearly amused by my recent wipe-out. I am not the best surfer, but laughing at ourselves is part of the fun.
I have found that it is moments like these that allow the most natural and open relationships to develop between myself as a therapist, and the students with whom I work. There is an emotional connection that occurs when sharing favorite activities with someone, particularly in an outdoor setting. Profound relationships develop when that activity includes a “challenge element” (eliciting the “flow state” of presence and mindfulness) with an attainable struggle that eventually leads to mastery (creating a sense of earned pride and personal confidence).
On our drive back to campus, I could tell that something special had happened out in the water that evening: Nico and I had strengthened our shared experience and personal history. Whether it be surfing, rock climbing, paddling, or the rhythm of walking, NSA’s experiential Aventuras create opportunities for deep therapeutic rapport, the foundation for clinical efficacy.
So of course, our answer was “yes!” Jordan rejoined our community last Friday for a workshop with our Visual and Performing Arts class on performance art. Students worked with Jordan to analyze the language of poetry and the spoken word, and read a number of poems aloud. The students were also treated to a live performance of Jordan’s “Bullies." Finally, students wrote and performed their own spoken-word pieces -- a fantastic culmination of the afternoon.
When we asked Jordan why he had returned, we heard our favorite answer: “I wanted to give back.”
New Summit Academy students and staff have just returned from an extraordinary experience exploring ancient and modern cultures in Belize and Guatemala!
Students returned to campus energized by this amazing opportunity, and ready to begin the quarter. Keep an eye out for our upcoming Documentary Film Premiere issue at the end of the quarter, and a shared link of the student film!
As our largest graduation ever quickly approaches, it is a perfect time to reflect on what makes up a student’s experience graduating the New Summit Academy program. While attention is often given to exciting Aventuras, engaging classes, and Personal Growth, it is important to understand the results of these programmatic aspects.
In other words, what does the resume of a New Summit Academy Graduate look like?
Resume of a New Summit Academy Graduate
The class was offered a total of over ONE MILLION DOLLARS in scholarships this year.
It’s amazing what a resume can do!
“Growing up, I viewed poetry solely as a form of writing that used rhyming. I thought poetry to be simple and monotonous, only doing it because my teacher assigned it. There was no passion when it was taught by my teachers and correspondingly, there was no passion when I wrote. Poetry was portrayed as a basic rhyming scheme such as "‘He went into town and found a nice crown,"’ not a creative outlet or form of art.
Here at NSA, it is just the opposite. I feel lucky to have had Larisa as my Poetry teacher. Larisa's passion for poetry translates to class, inspiring and motivating me to write. A typical day in poetry class consists of first receiving a prompt or intention for the class, then breaking for 30 to 45 minutes to write, and finally we regroup to share and give feedback on the pieces.”
Blog authors may be students, staff, parents or colleagues. We're all-inclusive! Just enjoy!