Our neighbors, the amazing children and staff at Hogar de Vida, continue to enrich our students’ lives and experiences by opening their doors and their arms. Each week, our dedicated Cultural Coordinator Daisy leads a team of student volunteers who visit the children’s home to spend time with the little ones playing, helping with dinner, and running around like kids themselves!
Daisy also organizes weekend activities, picnics and parties, sharing our students’ culture with the children, and providing small --but needed-- breaks for the tias (aunties) who give so much of their time and love.
In the coming weeks, Daisy and the NSA community will be spearheading a fundraiser for our wonderful neighbors who give so much. Keep an eye out for information in our next newsletter about how you can help!
Students arriving at NSA for the first time have a great deal to process: new peers, new teachers, new rules and expectations – even a new country. In order to provide the most support possible during transition into the New Summit Academy community, our Orientation program guides each student as he immerses into a new, exciting experience.
Orientation begins with meeting a mentor: a senior student who serves as a “go-to” person for any questions or needs. That mentor accompanies his mentee on a weekend-long Orientation Aventura, where peers and staff introduce new students to the NSA handbook, explain how the program functions, and answer any questions that arrive. Upon returning to campus, new students complete a series of meetings, steps, readings and more in order to quickly and comfortably become part of our community -- ready to set goals to continue on the path to success.
On the first Integrated Aventura of a career at NSA, students developed their work ethic and gave back with noticeable enthusiasm while weeding rows of lemongrass, cabbage, lettuce, and pineapple; creating organic fertilizer using discarded mangoes, and making a natural mulch using mango tree leaves at the permaculture-based organic farm Osa Verde.
Each night, students and staff engaged in presentations from scientists conducting on-site conservation work. On the fourth day, students released over a hundred freshly hatched baby Olive Ridley turtles into a stormy sea!
New Summit Academy’s Academic and Experiential Education programs are designed to immerse students in the language and culture of Costa Rica, forging cross-cultural perspectives and understanding as we work to develop Global Citizens.
Beginner and Intermediate Spanish classes prepare students for these immersion experiences by studying grammar through the lens of weekend cultural activities, which serve as culminating experiential learning opportunities. Weekend activities range from local festivities and horse parades, to sporting events, coffee plantation tours, museum visits and more.
Students in advanced Spanish classes have an additional opportunity to work with our Spanish teacher and Cultural Coordinator, Daisy, in designing immersive experiences based on their interests and passions, and solidifying their Spanish Language skills in fun, hands-on ways.
The opportunities are unique to New Summit Academy, and we are proud to offer them as integral parts of our program.
New Summit Academy’s dining hall has always been famous for serving fresh, delicious foods to our students and staff. In fact, students often award our chefs “favorite staff” awards at graduation ceremonies.
In our continuing efforts to build healthy habits in our students, and to provide them with nutrition that develops bright, productive minds, our chefs are incorporating more healthy, plant-based options at breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Besides bringing in organic vegetables from a nearby farm each week, NSA grows much of its basil and oregano right here on campus. Our cooks plan balanced weekly meals following a formula that ensures plenty of whole grains, leafy greens, fresh fruits, and lean proteins. New additions to our menu include garbanzo bean and vegetable stew, spinach and tuna sandwiches, vegetarian lasagna, and even a salad bar!
NSA students and staff have been getting into the holiday spirit by giving back to two of our most important Costa Rican community connections: Hogar de Vida and our Homestay families.
Hogar de Vida, a home for orphaned children in our neighborhood, has embraced our school and provides our students with once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to develop unique relationships. NSA hosted a Christmas party for these children and the aunties who care for them, featuring a clown that made balloon hats, plenty of presents and a delicious lunch.
Our Homestay families provide our students the opportunity to create meaningful bonds as they engage with their “second families” in cultural activities, sporting events, parties and daily life around the house. NSA students and staff invited families to campus for a celebratory picnic of arroz con pollo and picadillo, and gave gifts to these families as small tokens of how much they are appreciated.
Happy Holidays to Hogar de Vida, our Homestay families, and our entire NSA community!
Arriving at a new place can be overwhelming for anyone, especially when that place is a new school, with a new group of peers, new staff, and different rules – and in an entirely foreign country!
In Costa Rica, and throughout much of Latin America, Columbus Day is celebrated - not for the "discovery" of the Americas - but for the diversity of cultures throughout the continents created by our shared history. New Summit Academy is unique among high schools in that our students enroll from all corners of the United States, and that our international staff come to us from Costa Rica, the U.S., Argentina, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and other countries.
Each year, our Cultural Coordinator Daisy ensures that students learn about this important day and the impact diversity has on Costa Rica and on the students' everyday lives. In celebration of the cultural melange that makes up NSA, Daisy organizes our staff to create and share food and drinks with our students which represent the cultures from which we come.
This year, students enjoyed traditional Caribbean meat patties, Columbian arepas, chicharrones from Costa Rica, Thai massaman curry, and hearty mid-western chili.
Food is a window into and celebration of this variety of cultures (not to mention the best way to interest teenage boys), so many thanks to Daisy for facilitating this enriching event!
The month of September is a special time in Costa Rica, as proud Ticos celebrate gaining their independence from Spain on September 15th, 1821. Our Cultural Coordinator, Daisy, ensures that students take part in every aspect of this patriotic celebration.
Typical Breakfast Celebration
On the day before Independence Day, faculty and staff arrive to campus extra early to prepare a typical Costa Rican breakfast for our students. As students awoke to the sound of live marimba music, they found their teachers ready to serve them such traditional foods as gallo pinto, huevos rancheros, and handmade corn tortillas.
Staff (and some of our braver students) danced to classic Tico tunes, punctuated by “bombas” – short, comedic poems recited by everyone involved.
Making Faroles and Supporting a Local Elementary School
On the evening before Independence Day, Costa Ricans celebrate the gathering of citizens by lantern light throughout Central America as the call for independence was raised in 1821.
Children fill the streets, carrying homemade “faroles” or lanterns in the colors of the Costa Rican flag for a magical parade.
NSA students traveled to a nearby small village called “Altos del Monte” to work with the students at a humble elementary school to construct their lanterns.
Our students then took part in the parade, and further supported the school’s yearly fundraiser by purchasing plates of traditional food.
September 15: Independence Day Parade
Many thanks to our Costa Rican community for including us in their Independence Day celebration, and to Daisy, for organizing such a rich series of experiences for our students.
Happy Independence Day, Costa Rica!
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