A new cohort of students participated in virtual summer bridge camps to get ready for their first year in the Advanced Academic Academies in the Socorro Independent School District.
The camps are conducted each summer to help incoming freshmen get familiar with the program they have been accepted to, meet students from other middle schools and feeder patterns joining the same academy and to get to know their teachers and the upperclassmen.
“Sometimes students are hesitant about entering high school and these summer camps alleviate some of that hesitation,” said SISD Career and Technical Education facilitator Veronica De Avila. “It’s an opportunity for students to feel welcomed into high school.”
Students in the week-long virtual camps gained vital information about the academies and participated in interactive activities and creative projects.
SSG. Manuel R. Puentes Middle School student Daniela Rubio will be attending Synergi4 at Montwood High School starting in the 2020-21 school year. She chose the camp because it will provide plenty of opportunities to move her ahead in a future career in science, she said.
Rubio participated in math and brain exercises, made homemade masks, built a robot, practiced communication skills and created a time capsule as part of a group activity in the Synergi4 bridge camp.
“Building the robot was my favorite because it was an opportunity to really be creative and was very specific, so it took a lot of thinking,” Rubio said. “The time capsule was really fun, too, because it was a good way to get to know the other students.”
Jarell Kearney, a student from Salvador H. Sanchez Middle School who attended the SATA bridge camp, said the camp was beneficial in giving him a head start for the next school year and meeting classmates with similar interests. He likes that the academy allows students to explore many career options.
Kearney said the students at the SATA bridge camp learned about computer science and coding, including HTML, games and animation, and cyber security.
“Now I’ve been researching cyber security because it seems very interesting and something I’d want to go into,” Kearney said.
Eastlake High School teacher Alexaundra Robles said the SATA academy helps students get a jump start into a technology career, acquire skills that could land them a job right out of high school and be well prepared in knowing what their focus will be when they advance to colleges or universities.
“I’m really glad that these academies are available for the students so this way they get a more enhanced education,” Robles said. “Hopefully, it is something they can take away for their future college and career experiences.”
At Montwood High School, senior Christopher Nunez gained a full appreciation for the camps, which helped him when he came into the Synergi4 program from outside of the Socorro school district.
“These camps are very important for incoming freshmen,” said Nunez, who was a teacher assistant at the Synergi camp.
Montwood High School CTE teacher Luis Ramirez said hosting the camps virtually for the first time allowed educators to meet and engage every student and enhanced the interaction.
“We could’ve been overwhelmed thinking it was going to be too much work to hold the camps virtually, but the great group of teachers who hosted the camps did not let COVID ruin this fun tradition that we have for all of our incoming freshmen,” Ramirez said. “In these situations, you just have to learn how to overcome and adapt to learn to do what’s best for the students.”
The Advanced Academic Academies in SISD are: Libertas Academy at Americas High School, School of Advanced Technology Applications (SATA) at Eastlake High School, Aztec Architectural Academy and International Baccalaureate program at El Dorado High School, Synergi4 at Montwood High School, Sparta Business Academy at Pebble Hills High School, and the Health Professions Academy at Socorro High School.