Following a successful quarter and graduation ceremony, students and staff embarked on NSA’s Summer Recreational Aventura for some well-deserved rest and relaxation (and adrenaline!) We first traveled to the Fonseca House, a family business located in the heart of the rainforest on the famous Savegre River.
Here, students took full advantage of the pristine forest as they climbed trees, zip-lined, rappelled waterfalls, and swam in the river. After three full days at Fonseca House, we continued to the coast, first to Manuel Antonio Park and then to Esterillos -- two beautiful spots along the Pacific -- where we explored the national park, held a bonfire, and swam in the waves.
Students returned rested and energized for their next adventure: Peru!
New Summit Academy’s Aventura program is a one-of-a-kind series of integrated challenges in the wilderness of Costa Rica where students have an opportunity to, not only progress in Personal Growth, Academic and Experiential Education, but to reflect on their growth so far.
The final Aventura – climbing Cerro Chirripo (the highest peak in Costa Rica), serves as the ultimate opportunity to reflect, and to ponder the future. Transition students who have met all program requirements are approved by their Transition Team to take on the mountain, climbing alongside their peers in a culminating celebration of their growth and of their futures filled with success.
Congratulations to our June graduates, who will be summiting Chirripo this week. As we say to our graduates “When you reach the summit, keep climbing!”
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.
Throughout each student’s stay at New Summit Academy, the Integrated Aventuras serve as a means to connect with therapists, Experiential Education mentors, and teachers while working on personal growth goals, and enjoying total immersion in the natural wonders of Costa Rica. Students recently returned from three different Aventuras, and have brought their stories back to campus with them.
Students took to the trails of Corcovado National Park ready to explore the most biologically intense place on earth. The group's student documentarian recorded footage for a short film, while other students took turns in the role of Student Naturalist, spotting and identifying Baird's tapirs, anteaters, and caimans in the wild.
Biologists from the University of Costa Rica shared the results of a ten-year study about the diverse species of fungi endemic to the park, enhancing class discussions about the symbiotic relationships of rainforest organisms.
The highlight of this once-in-a-lifetime paddle around the protected waters of southern Costa Rica was the cohesion of the group, and the good vibes and energy that arose from the interactions between students and staff during the trip. Student feedback for staff was all positive, and they expressed how much they appreciated sharing the experience.
Students battled rough seas at times, but sightings of sea turtles, studying the mangroves in an estuary, and watching our Science teacher JD fall out of his kayak made the trip worth it!
This Aventura begins with a 3-day backpacking journey into the chilly cloud forest of Tapanti National Park. On the very first day, after arriving at the park station, the group happened to see a wounded resplendent quetzal being transported to the Zoo Ave sanctuary in Alajuela. Renowned for its vibrant plumage and long streamer tail, the quetzal inhabits the humid highlands of Costa Rica, where protected lands offer this threatened species safe haven.
The experience was the perfect springboard for that day's class on the interconnectedness of cloud forest biomes and human interactions with local species. The class discussion focused on human impacts and important efforts to help rare species like the quetzal.
The trip ended on a high note with two days of adrenaline-pumping rafting on the Class III and IV rapids of the mighty Pacuare River.
Students on the Kayak Aventura found a true sense of cohesion and authenticity as they paddled their way across the glassy waters of the Golfo Dulce.
When they weren't chest-deep in mangrove estuaries for hands-on classes, the guys were catching their dinner (fresh snapper and mackeral!) on handlines as they kayaked through this amazing ecosystem.
Crowning moments included:
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