NSA's staff and students are all excited to begin another spectacular year and want to share a reflection of some of 2018's highlights:
8 Global Citizenship workshops, investigating student-chosen topics related to Social Justice, Diversity, Ecological Stewardship, Conflict Resolution, and more.
4 Homestay Picnics, thanking our dedicated and caring Atenas hosts for taking our students into their homes and making them a part of their families.
28 successful Aventuras, including Integrated, Recreational and International Aventuras to Peru and South Africa!
Hundreds of hours of community service at Hogar de Vida, with Osa Conservation, and in the community of Atenas.
New clubs driven by student interests including a Fishing Club and a Birdwatching Club.
Nearly 100 college acceptances, including outstanding schools like Tulane, Marquette, Trinity, Loyola of Chicago, Whittier, Juniata, and Eckerd College.
Over 1.1 million dollars in college scholarships offered thus far!
20 successful graduates of high school and/or the New Summit Academy Program, ready to take on the world with new skills and confidence!
Thanks to all members of our NSA family for your support as we look forward to an incredible 2019... Happy New Year!
Students and staff have just returned from a successful round of Integrated Aventuras: hiking through Corcovado National Park, kayaking the Golfo Dulce, and whitewater rafting in the cloud forests of Costa Rica.
What better way to express Aventura experiences than through the words of students (and their mothers!) over the years at NSA:
New Summit Academy includes professional-level certifications as part of its program graduation, ensuring that students step out of their comfort zones and are challenged in areas of interest. Students chose from four options for this September’s certification week, and split into two groups.
One group chose to study English language teaching techniques to earn their TEFL Certificates (Teaching English as a Foreign Language). Students brushed up on their grammar, learned skills for engaging non-native speakers in the classroom, and practiced experientially by giving English lessons to local Costa Ricans.
The second group took on Open Water or Advanced SCUBA Certifications. After studying the required theoretical information and practicing in the pool, students jumped right in (literally) to practice their skills in the waters off Playa del Coco. These are lifetime certifications that build confidence, opportunities, and resumes.
Congratulations to our newly-certified NSA students!
Each year, NSA has the rare opportunity for all of our faculty and staff to gather in one place to improve our efforts of supporting our students and promoting their growth. This September, staff met for a full week of workshops and trainings in topics that included:
• Student Areas of Attention
• Safety and Confidentiality
• Emergency Protocols and Drills
• Organizational Sensitivity
• The Self, Community and Future Teams and Processes
After a long but successful week, our staff gathered once more to watch a video put together by Stephen, our photography and documentary film teacher, filled with expressions of thanks from graduates and their families with whom we have worked throughout the years.
Many thanks to those who sent in letters and videos, and a special thank you to all of our team, who continue improving the good work that we do!
As testimonials from parents and students continue to pour in, we couldn’t help but share just one more:
“I am so grateful for the entire staff of NSA for their attention to so many details of the whole well-rounded program that helped our family through a difficult time. I felt very welcomed as a parent and regularly included, even though we were in another country for the year our son lived in Costa Rica. The fresh mangoes in May were especially memorable for me as we met with other parents and families during the first family session about three months into our son’s time there. I loved that you included time outdoors as a major part of the curriculum - as I firmly believe it is healing and provides clarity and peace to be outdoors. Our son loved the hiking and swimming and kayaking and seems to have a lifelong desire now to continue finding higher mountains to climb, both literally and figuratively.”
New Summit Academy’s August Aventuras provided students and staff with once-in-a-lifetime experiences! Some kayaked the Golfo Dulce, some hiked through Corcovado National Park, while others performed community service helping in reforestation and conservation efforts.
Students waded rivers, caught fresh fish on hand lines, learned about biological relationships and watershed ecology, spotted tapir and sea turtles and -- most importantly -- grew as a community and returned to campus ready to continue that growth!
This month, each student participated in one of our experiential, hands-on Aventura experiences, based on their progress within the program. This round of Aventuras was particularly effective in building student-staff relationships, developing leadership with emerging seniors, and enhancing our community’s supportive, positive milieu.
Community Service with Osa Conservation
Students, staff and volunteers from around the world teamed up to work side-by-side with the professionals from Osa Conservation in their preservation and protection efforts of the habitats and species of the area.
Everyone pitched in without hesitation to create a nursery for balsa trees, which are very important for native animal species including monkeys and scarlet macaws.
Students also built a new turtle hatchery, learned about reforestation, big cats, sea turtle conservation, and were rewarded with the opportunity to release baby turtles on the beach!
Kayak Explorations on the Golfo Dulce
Students in their second full quarter at NSA joined a seasoned group of staff – including our Director of Personal Growth, Director of Experiential Education and Director of Program Integrity – in a 5-day kayaking expedition around the spectacular Golfo Dulce.
Students said that they were initially nervous about going on Aventura with so many “administrators," but at the end of the trip expressed that they had an amazing time and were pleased to have spent time with the staff.
Highlights of the trip included:
- Learning about mangrove ecosystems while swimming in an estuary
- Student success at catching fish, including some first-time fishermen
- Sighting dolphin, sea turtles, monkeys and stingrays
- Spotting bioluminescence, watching the sunrise and catching tuna on the night crossing
Corcovado National Park Highlights
The setting of our Corcovado Aventura – surrounded by primary rainforest teeming with animals – made for a once-in-a-lifetime experience for our students in their third full quarter.
Students learned about biological relationships and forest succession while spotting wildlife that included multiple anteaters (two with babies in tow), three tapir that walked through a rainforest class, and an impressive boa constrictor seen moving along the forest floor next to a poison dart frog!
Cloud Forest Adventures
Our more senior students spent the week exploring Costa Rica's cool cloud forest on foot and raft, on a trip where they take charge of their growth and logistics, including menu planning (this trip actually had one student try peanut butter and jelly for the first time!)
Students braved hanging bridges, technical trails, and the frigid waters of the high-altitude streams, even taking some time to be kids and build a waterfall dam. Classes focused on ecological communities and how these relate to students’ relationships within their communities.
Our English teacher, Brooke, even channeled Mary Shelley and inspired a scary story session in the evening. Check out the Cloud Forest video she shared with us!
Students and staff spent an arduous week working side-by-side to learn and master the content and skills needed to earn their WAFA and CPR certifications. Our fabulous instructors are adept at interspersing classroom learning with real-life, hands-on application of wilderness medicine essentials including:
- Scene and situation evaluation
- The ABC’s of airway, breathing and circulation evaluation
- Comprehensive patient assessment
- Stabilization and treatment techniques
Our community worked to dress fake (but so realistic!) wounds, splint broken bones, diagnose heat stroke and more on their way to earning professional level WAFA and CPR certification cards.
Congratulations on everyone’s hard work and success!
Pursuing healthy passions is an important part to living a full, balanced life, and our Clubs enable our students to advocate for their particular interests in that pursuit. Any student can start a Club with enough interest and by passing a proposal with the Experiential Education team. Once a Club is approved, student and staff leaders facilitate a quarterly Club Fair for student sign-ups.
This quarter’s Clubs include Cooking, Gardening, Chess, Comic Books, Biking, Climbing, Music Makers, and Backcountry Skills.
Clubs then collaborate to organize and schedule weekly meetings and weekend outings, developing student advocacy, organization and follow through while having fun!
Blog authors may be students, staff, parents or colleagues. We're all-inclusive! Just enjoy!