Jesuit Summer Bridge began on June 12, and the first two weeks of the program's 7th year have been packed with learning and fun.
Each year, more than 40 boys come to Jesuit High School for the instructive and nurturing Jesuit Summer Bridge program, which connects Jesuit faculty and counselors to conscientious middle school students from more than 20 schools, mostly Hillsborough County public schools. Comprehensive and action-packed from 8:00am to Noon each day, Jesuit Summer Bridge runs from June 12 to July 14 this year.
Each morning includes focused academic instruction in three areas – math, critical thinking, and language arts (grammar/reading) – mixed with an array of specialty sessions such as robotics, art, video editing, science/math labs, cooking, and recycling, plus guest speakers (Troy Smith spoke this week), Bricks4Kidz, a tour of the campus construction site, and more.
While they have been boosting their academic foundation, Jesuit Summer Bridge students also have been making friends and having fun. Each day concludes with an elective activity – many choose sports such as soccer and touch football – and Jesuit Summer Bridge includes two field trips that align with this year’s theme “Build Up One Another.” The first is to the highly anticipated "Art of the Brick" exhibition in downtown Tampa on June 29, and the second is to Legoland on July 7.
Jesuit math teacher Paula Collazo is the Jesuit Summer Bridge principal, and Jesuit admissions director Steve Matesich ’91 is the Jesuit Summer Bridge coordinator. Jesuit teachers Karen St. John (math) and Jonathan Barlaan ’07 (critical thinking, and pictured on the homepage) lead the instruction, along with Jesuit alumnus Ben Parker '13 (language arts), Fr. Francis Brou, S.J. (chaplain), and other Jesuit teachers who assist with electives such as Fine Arts department head Kevin Ball '03.
Several Jesuit students and young alumni serve as Jesuit Summer Bridge counselors, including some who also are Summer Bridge alums such as Zarrius Young '17, Justin Sanchez '17, and current students Lazaro Alvelaez '18, Bryce Connolly '18, Jacob Thompson '18, and Daniel Villavicencio '18. Other student counselors include Eric Irani '18 and Brett Sandborn '18.
“Jesuit Summer Bridge is off to a great start, and we're excited for the upcoming field trips to Art of the Brick and Legoland,’’ Collazo said. “The positive feedback we get each year from the middle schools these boys attend is inspiring. Our staff loves having an impact on students as they are forming the academic foundation for high school. And more than ever, we see so many Jesuit Summer Bridge alumni coming back to help with the program that helped them. It reinforces everything we do with Jesuit Summer Bridge.”
Jesuit Summer Bridge is offered at a steeply discounted cost to the participants and is supported in part by the Tiger Lilies, the club comprised of mothers of Jesuit alumni.
View a photo slideshow below from the first three weeks of Jesuit Summer Bridge 2017: