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Bridge Building

Bridge Building

Every day for five weeks during the summer, more than 40 middle school boys come to Jesuit High School for the instructive, nurturing, and exciting Jesuit Summer Bridge program.

Jesuit Summer Bridge connects Jesuit faculty and counselors to conscientious middle school students from more than 20 schools, mostly Hillsborough County public schools, daily from 8:00am to Noon. Comprehensive, action-packed, and offered at a steeply discounted cost, Jesuit Summer Bridge runs from June 13 to July 15 and is in the midst of its 6th year at Jesuit.

Each day 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, cooking, music, and art, plus guest speakers, science-oriented activities, Bricks4Kidz, 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 “The Sky is the Limit.” The first field trip was to the ropes course at MOSI, and the second is Friday (July 8), an all-day trip to Cape Canaveral.

Jesuit math teacher Paula Collazo is the Jesuit Summer Bridge director, and Jesuit admissions director Steve Matesich ’91 is the Jesuit Summer Bridge coordinator. Jesuit teachers April Bombka (math) and Jonathan Barlaan ’07 (critical thinking) lead the instruction, along with Jesuit alumni John Lamoureux ’12 (language arts) and Rey Riveros ’16.

Riveros is the first Jesuit Summer Bridge alum who also graduated from Jesuit. After completing his work at Jesuit Summer Bridge on July 15, Riveros will matriculate this fall as a freshman at Catholic University in Washington, D.C. Several Jesuit rising seniors serve as Jesuit Summer Bridge counselors, including Rodney Higdon ’17, Ryan Kervin '17, and Will Piedmont ’17, as well as Jesuit Summer Bridge alums Juan Sanchez ’17, Justin Sanchez ’17, and Zarrius Young ’17.

Each week of Jesuit Summer Bridge features a character-building theme, and there is a “Question of the Day” every morning, with queries such as naming the most U.S. presidents. Students also learn the Prayer for Generosity and Bible verses, such as Isaiah 40:30-31 “Even youths grow tired and weary, young men stumble and fall. But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength, they will soar with wings of eagles.” 

“We’ve been having a great summer,’’ said Collazo. “Each year we’ve been building Jesuit Summer Bridge and making it even better for the students. The staff loves having an impact on students as they are forming the academic foundation for high school. And it’s great to see so many Summer Bridge alumni coming back to help with the program that helped them. It brings everything full circle and helps reinforce everything we do with Summer Bridge.”

View a photo slideshow below from the first three weeks of Jesuit Summer Bridge 2016. UPDATE: Two additional photo slideshows have been added below, one from the final two weeks of Jesuit Summer Bridge 2016, and below that is a photo slideshow from graduation on July 15:

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