Experiential learning, project and problem-based classes, rigorous standards, comprehensive student portfolios - there is no doubt that New Summit Academy’s Academic Program is college-prep.
But NSA is much more than college-prep; we prepare our students for life! Our students have struggled but developed the resilience to persevere. They have learned how they learn and how to advocate for themselves, have lived away from home in dorms (doing their own laundry and chores!) Our students have immersed in a different culture and language, have performed community service like no other, and have developed healthy coping mechanisms and re-connected with their families.
New Summit Academy graduates: PREPARED FOR LIFE!
Hogar de Vida is an orphanage right down our street, but it's more than that. It's a place of hope and growth for everyone involved.
It doesn't matter whether you are a director, accountant, teacher, or student at NSA... you all share a common goal of spreading 'love' and 'joy.'
We asked some of our students and staff, "What makes Hogar de Vida so special?" ...and this is what some of them said.
"It's not about material possession, it’s not about who’s cool or not, it’s about connecting one-on-one with another human being who wants to be loved and accepted. Both our students and the little kids get that feeling from their interaction." - NSA Staff
"One big community working together towards a better cause - that's the beauty of Hogar de Vida!" - NSA Staff
"It makes me feel like a parent for a day. It's really cool to see their faces light up when they see us, and it's the same both ways, my face also lights up. I'm very happy when I go there." - NSA Student
"It was my first time going to an orphanage, people made it seem a lot harder than it was, I’m somewhat good with kids, but especially with my Hogar de Vida ‘son.’ A previous student had him before me, and no one really ‘wanted him’ - he would spit on me or climb up from behind, mess around... But it takes time. If you show them that you care and you want to be around them, even just the vibe of that, they will pick up on it. And he just became a whole new person - he comes up and grabs my hand; I'm now his best friend and he's mine." - NSA Student
"The experience as a whole - it not only helps me as a person but also them. They get to interact with people that are older and a positive influence on their life, which they might’ve not had in the past." - NSA Student
"They don’t think anyone besides the ‘tias’ would care for them. As some of us are young men, or getting to be there, it’s very positive for them to get and see positive 'male' examples, and we as students get to build our identity in a way too." - NSA Student
"For someone who struggles with comfortability around little kids, it’s honestly still pretty fun to see everyone having a fantastic time, and even if you aren’t a great fan of little kids, you can still help out. I still enjoy seeing them have fun." - NSA Student
Few schools are able to offer true cultural immersion experiences for learning language and developing interpersonal skills and cultural connectivity. At New Summit Academy, students are engaged in a once-in-a-lifetime project-based learning opportunity.
Our school has been working with our local retirement home for years, offering activities and connections for its residents. Recently, our Immersive Spanish teacher, Daisy, decided that we should be doing more. The project that students collaborated on developing is one that will provide the home with photographs and stories of its residents.
The first steps involve the students developing deeper relationships with the residents, so the class is visiting the home weekly, engaging in fun activities including music presentations and hands-on arts and crafts. As the students and residents bond, stories shared in their conversations will be recorded and paired with portraits taken by our Photography class to decorate the halls of the retirement home.
What an incredible opportunity for New Summit Academy’s students!
September brings Costa Rica’s Independence Day, and NSA students celebrated in style. Daisy, our Cultural Coordinator, planned the yearly Desayuno Campesino, or Farmer’s Breakfast, to mark the occasion. Staff arrived to campus early to pitch in (along with some early bird students!) to prepare homemade corn tortillas, eggs, gallo pinto, plantains and, of course, lots of Costa Rican coffee. Our teachers and Nurse Marco even donned traditional dress and coaxed students onto the dance floor! Thanks to Daisy and everyone who helped to make this year’s celebration so special.
Last month, students and staff participated in one of the most awe-inspiring cultural experiences of the year: the annual pilgrimage to Cartago known as the "Romeria."
This pilgrimage began nearly 400 years ago when a young girl found a statue of a woman holding a child in her arms near a spring. After taking the statue home, the girl found the next day that it had mysteriously returned to the spring. The same happened when the girl took the figure to the local church.
Since then, the devout of Costa Rica (nearly 2 million of them!) walk to the site, now a basilica. Our students participate in 13 kilometers of the walk in order to help develop more cultural awareness and connect with the people of Costa Rica.
This year’s highlights include photo opportunities with the ex-president of Costa Rica and, perhaps even more exciting, the chicken mascots of a local department store!
This month, NSA will celebrate the graduation of four young men, ready to venture into the world and experience continued success.
After graduation, our students and staff will engage in a month of experiential learning, including the Wilderness Advanced First Aid (WAFA) certification course, international Aventuras to Peru and South Africa, and a SCUBA certification in Bocas del Toro, Panama.
Stay tuned for more updates on these once-in-a-lifetime opportunities!
Blog authors may be students, staff, parents or colleagues. We're all-inclusive! Just enjoy!