Gear Up Summer Academy introduces teens to college life
San Jacinto College Central’s Gear Up Summer Academy, a partnership with Pasadena ISD high schools, combines education and fun, while giving teens a taste of college life.
“The Gear Up program helps our students to become proactive in their education,” commented Karen McCarley, Pasadena ISD Gear Up coordinator. “They are asking the campus coordinators about outside programs rather than waiting for the coordinators to deliver the information to them.”
In the program, PISD high school students termed “rising ninth-graders” (passing from ninth to tenth grade) attend a series of instructional sessions at San Jacinto College Central in Pasadena that are taught by faculty members of the College. The high school students are accompanied by PISD teachers. This year’s four-day camp sessions finished in late June, with courses being held from 9 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. each day that also included a group lunch at the end of each day’s activities. Transportation to and from the College’s Central campus was provided by PISD.
“San Jacinto College has been focusing on providing additional opportunities for pre-college students, especially during the summer,” commented Dr. James Braswell, San Jacinto College Central’s academic dean. “This partnership is working extremely well and is providing unexpected benefits for both parties. It is opening new lines of communications between college and high school faculty members and helping find new avenues of cooperation which can only help high school students in our communities.”
The Gear Up camps included daily courses that introduced young people to a wide range of the College’s academic and technical programs, such as art, music, journalism, math, welding, web design, cosmetology, and process technology. The camp sessions are designed for learning, but McCarley says some of the sessions also mix in some fun for the sake of variety and enrichment.
“For instance, one of the camp sessions had a Crime Scene Investigation theme that ran through all of the academic classes, which was a way to incorporate fun into the curriculum,” she remarked. “So much of the classes are so hands-on and project oriented that the students forget they are actually learning something.” Gear Up campers have also competed in college trivia games, and staged impromptu talent shows during lunch as enrichment activities that incorporate fun.
McCarley said there has been nothing but positive feedback from students about the Gear Up program.
“Many of our students, although they live in the Pasadena area, are not fully aware of what San Jacinto College has to offer,” she noted. “Participating in both academic and technical programs allows them to find out at an early age about careers in which they may have an interest. We have been so fortunate to have this partnership with San Jacinto College. The school has so much to offer our students and parents and they are always willing to help us in our pursuit of post-secondary education.”
San Jacinto College serves more than 24,500 students in over 140 degrees and certificates in university transfer and technical programs. The College also serves the community through workforce training. Students come with various goals and aspirations and we are committed to their success. San Jacinto College. Your Goals. Your College. For more information about San Jacinto College, please call 281-998-6150 or visit www.sanjac.edu.