"When you put students who love to learn with teachers who love to teach, good things happen," said Jim O'Donnell, director of the Loomis Chaffee Summer Program, to the 121 participants and their families gathered at this year's welcome assembly on Monday.
This summer's program includes students entering grades 7 through 12, who come to the Island from across the United States and several international locations, including Brazil, China, Japan, Kuwait, and the United Kingdom.
Describing the five-week comprehensive program of learning, discovery, enrichment, and reflection, Jim noted that the LC Summer Program is a lot like the Loomis Chaffee School experience; the program's mission mirrors the school's mission of fostering in young people a commitment to the "best self and the common good."
Jim also explained that "having fun" is the most important element of the summer objectives. He noted that past participant surveys indicate that "fun" is the adjective most often associated with the Loomis Chaffee Summer Program. Students enjoy making friends and sharing experiences with peers from all over the world, Jim said, and they appreciate the fun of taking a deep dive into a subject in the relaxed and creative environment that summertime affords.
Summer Program course offerings are wide and varied. Participants in the Enrichment Program elect courses focused on an area of interest, such as robotics, forensic science, or creative writing. Other students take science modules focused on microbiology and design thinking taught by Loomis science teacher Scott MacClintic '82. An intensive math offering enables some students to advance their academic progression in math. And many participants join the Summer Program's ACT, SAT, and SSAT test preparation courses.
Augmenting the coursework, the Summer Program includes learning experiences that extend beyond the classroom. Enrichment Program students will take part in an agricultural and sustainability module — a hands-on experience in the campus gardens and hen house, and each will have an opportunity to make an oral presentation on a topic of personal interest.
Outdoor learning experiences, excursions, physical exercise, and athletic games round out the summer curriculum, and ample time is set aside for relaxation, restoration, socialization, and reflection as means for self-discovery. Destinations for group trips will include Boston, New York City, and Six Flags New England Amusement Park, and there will be plenty of summertime outdoor fun, such as barbecues, campfires, and a July 4th celebration.
At Monday's kick-off, participants and their families were given an overview of the program and introduced to the Summer Program teaching faculty and faculty interns. Jim also introduced the two student summer proctors taking part in the Common Good Leadership Program, a new curriculum offering this year designed to engage high school-aged students in leadership skills development.
In addition to Scott, several experienced Loomis teachers are members of the summer faculty: math teachers Hudson Harper, Curt Robison, and Isso Shimamoto; science teacher Jen Solomon; art teacher Mark Zunino; and history teacher Mat Denunzio. Some of the summer faculty have been part of the program since its inaugural season in 2012.
For more information, connect to the Summer Program page of the Loomis Chaffee School website.