Each quarter, students embark on one of four Aventuras with therapists, Experiential Education mentors, and teachers joining them to make each experience truly integrated. Aventuras are some of the most effective components of the New Summit Academy program for encouraging student growth, community building, and for creating unforgettable memories. This round of Aventuras was a success in all areas. Here are some highlights as recounted by students and staff!
On Friday, June 16th, the New Summit Academy community celebrated as 10 graduates successfully completed the NSA program, high school, or both.
Graduating from the program or high school means that these young men have developed the skills, cultivated their curiosity, and honed their resourcefulness to become successful Global Citizens. Some of this June’s graduates will be returning to finish out their high school careers with new insights into how they learn and how to best advocate for themselves.
Those completing high school have all been accepted to and enrolled in colleges, including Bennington College, the University of Southern California, The University of Colorado Boulder, Fairfield University and the University of Arizona.
Congratulations to all of our graduates and their families, and we look forward to news of their future successes!
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.
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.
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.
A key part of NSA’s mission to nurture students toward becoming more relationship-based, goal-driven, resourceful global citizens is the idea of giving back to people and communities. During their stays, our students engage in countless opportunities to give back, from mentoring new students to volunteering at Hogar de Vida.
Our students work side-by-side with the Osa Conservation preserving turtle habitats, beautify local schools, and teach free English lessons in town. And something seems to stick, because our school is lucky enough to have graduates continually expressing that they want to give back by becoming interns, contributing to a program that once guided them.
Read for yourselves from a recent letter written by a 2014 graduate:
I was checking out the NSA website a second ago and felt compelled to email. Partly to thank you and also update you on my life.
I am in my second semester of my sophomore year at UNCW. I am on track to be a Psych Major/Spanish Double and or Minor (depending on the next few semesters). I work in the summers as a surf instructor and the rest of the year as a Manny (male nanny) for a family with a 9 year old boy and a 13 year old boy. I know GPA does not indicate everything but I have a steady 3.0. In July I will study abroad in Port Elizabeth South Africa for the semester.
How is New Summit Academy? Has the profile of students been changing at all? Mike W. and I keep in touch a good deal and he spoke very fondly of his time at NSA, especially working with you. I hope to come back at some point and work with NSA. It says something about the program that some students are compelled to come back and work with the students.
I am very thankful for my experience at NSA. It was an ineffable experience at certain points but my overall feelings remain positive and grateful. Choosing to take a year off was a very hard decision but a pivotal decision that I hold to my identity/sense of self. I always enjoyed talking travel with you and all you encouraged me to do.
I know you are very busy but I thought that I would extend this to you.
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.
Blog authors may be students, staff, parents or colleagues. We're all-inclusive! Just enjoy!