The other half of our students traveled to the untouched rainforests of Sarapiqui to study the art of Teaching English as a Foreign Language. Daily classes were planned by our English teacher, Brooke, herself certified and experienced in TEFL.
Students applied their new knowledge and skills with practice teaching at a nearby elementary school, where they also participated in community service.
To celebrate, students and staff took to the whitewater of the world-famous Sarapiqui River for well-deserved fun after earning their TEFL certificates!
Professional-level certifications are a required component of the New Summit Academy program, ensuring that students experience real-world, challenging learning outside of their amazing classroom experiences.
This week, a part of our student body chose to earn their SCUBA Certifications to meet that requirement. The palm-lined beaches of Playa del Coco in northwestern Costa Rica provided the backdrop for the course. Students began the week learning the fundamentals of Open Water diving and practicing hands-on techniques in the safety of the hotel pool before putting their learning into practice in the beautiful Pacific waters.
Coral reefs teeming with schools of fish were the rewards of the students’ work and dedication, along with their Open Water certification cards!
by Dr. Danny Recio & Andy Myers (Oct 2016)
Check out this great presentation by Dr. Danny Recio and Andy Myers - given at the Young Adult Transition Association conference in October 2016 in Idaho, USA. You will learn a lot about the psychological and social benefits of an appropriate, supportive cross-cultural immersion experience on growth and complexity.
Teachers and all of our staff work very hard to help students develop real skills for success. Every once in a while, one of our graduates reaches out to say thanks and to help make our jobs even more fulfilling. The message is important for our families of current seniors, as well as an example of college application success.
From a 2016 High School Graduate:
“I just wanted to write to tell you how much I appreciate the time you devoted towards helping me and my family during my college process over a year ago. That was a stressful, exciting and crucial time in my life where you did an impeccable job of helping me stay organized, write concise essays, and choose a school where I can continue to be academically successful. Not only that, but I am truly grateful for the academic skills that I learned while in Costa Rica and the curiosity of mine which was utilized in and out of the classroom like never before while at New Summit. As time continues I only appreciate these things more and more. From the bottom of my heart, I want to write to say thank you to you and all of the other teachers who have impacted my life and academic career in such a positive manner. I am also proud to say that I finished with a 3.46 GPA freshman year. I am continuing to expand my mind and curiosity here at Fordham inside the classroom.
Anyways, I hope to visit NSA soon but for now, I say hi and send my regards to the academic staff!" - Robbie
An integral component of all facets of the New Summit Academy program is the development of student empowerment and a feeling of student ownership of their community and processes. NSA’s Student Council exemplifies one of the many opportunities that students have to advocate for themselves and develop their executive functioning skills, all while making their community a better place to live!
Students campaign for Student Council, and are voted by their peers into positions that include President, Vice President, Activities Coordinator, and Proposals Coordinator.
Once in position, the President guides his peers in choosing and scheduling weekend activities and club outings, including the very-popular Running and Climbing Clubs. Students are also involved in decisions on how to spend the quarterly student budget for community improvements, and in writing proposals for making changes or additions to the student handbook. Through these activities, students see real, positive changes in their day-to-day lives as the rewards for investment and action!
As NSA's June graduation rapidly approaches, our integrated Transition team is working diligently with students and their families to prepare everyone for life post-graduation. And as students near their final quarter with us, they begin to work with their families on their Transition Plan: a comprehensive detailing of expectations, rules, education, home life, budgets and more.
Along with working on Transition Plans, this quarter engages students in life-skills workshops each week, including Getting Started at College, Real-World Budgeting, Meal-Planning, Car Maintenance, and Sex and Dating. As we near graduation, plans are refined, feedback is incorporated, and each student must have his plan approved by his Transition team before his final Aventura summiting Chirripo and graduating the program.
As a part of New Summit Academy’s program graduation requirements, students have the opportunity to earn certifications in a variety of areas, including this spring’s Wilderness Advanced First Aid (WAFA) certification.
For over a decade, our school has teamed up with professionals from the Wilderness Medicine Institute to engage our students in a weeklong, professional-level course. Throughout the week, students and staff learn side-by-side how to prevent, assess and treat medical issues when far from civilization.
Classes are rigorous and challenging, but students respond well to the fact that each lesson is reinforced with hands-on “scenarios” where knowledge can be put into immediate practice. For the entire week, our campus becomes the backdrop for wilderness emergency simulations, and students can be found following the patient assessment system, dressing wounds, setting broken bones, and practicing evacuation techniques.
A culminating (and always exciting) simulation involves a half-day, off campus scenario dreamed up by the WMI team. This year’s simulation challenged students to assess and treat patients in the wilderness after a hot air balloon accident! After learning and practicing wilderness medicine techniques for the week, and after successfully passing both a written and practical examination, students are proud to show off their WAFA certifications. Congratulations to everyone involved!
Updates like these make all of the efforts worth it:Hi, Kelly,
Life is fantastic right now! I am settled in to my dorm (my roommate is awesome) and have had two days of classes (already five hours spent on homework). I have met up with a lot of my old friends and I am hanging out with another NSA grad often, he’s doing great as well. We went on the same backpacking trip and saw a bear less than 15 feet away, walking toward us! It was a really fun trip and we had perfect weather with a full moon and blue skies.
I had a full time job this past summer as a dish washer with 50-hour weeks (roughly). I managed to go to three concerts through all of that: Rebelution, Guns n Roses, and Blink 182. At the Blink 182 concert, I caught the drummer’s drumstick!
I was sick right when I moved back (figures) but it only lasted a week and I’ve been healthy ever since. There already parties almost every day up here and I’ve managed to stay sober so far so that’s good, still having fun though.
I have no idea what I want to study but I think that is a good thing. I feel comfortable on campus and around all these people, everyone is really friendly up here.
I know I’ve said this before, but in times of reflection, I think I should say again that I am forever grateful for NSA and how it helped me turn my life around. Without it I would not be in college right now and maybe not even have a high school diploma. Then there’s all the emotional knowledge and wisdom I’ve gained, but I won’t go on about that (although it’s really important/advantageous). But the most important skills I learned at NSA were how to live with people, solve conflict, and open up as a person. I am so comfortable around everyone here, and it helps others be comfortable around me. It’s quite an experience to look back on, and I wouldn’t change a thing if I could.
Thanks for all your hard work.
Feel free to share this with people and I will write a letter to Martin ‘cause he deserves one and he helped me so much.
Blog authors may be students, staff, parents or colleagues. We're all-inclusive! Just enjoy!