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"Build Up One Another" - Jesuit Summer Bridge

"Build Up One Another" - Jesuit Summer Bridge

For five weeks this summer, culminating with the graduation ceremony on Friday (July 14), Jesuit Summer Bridge did the same thing it has been doing for seven years – take more than 40 local middle school boys and provide them with a fantastic, comprehensive educational experience.

Daily academic instruction in math, language arts (grammar/reading), and critical thinking, sports and impactful field trips, specialty sessions in art, robotics, video editing, and more – Jesuit Summer Bridge had it all.

“It was amazing,” said Jesuit Summer Bridge principal Paula Collazo. “Seeing the development these boys made was wonderful. From Day 1 until the final day at graduation, with their families here for the Dads' Club cookout afterward, their social, academic, and spiritual progress was a pleasure to watch.

“Now, they can take what they’ve learned here, academically, socially, and in leadership, and bring it back to their respective middle schools.”

Jesuit Summer Bridge is led by principal Collazo, a math teacher at Jesuit, and coordinator Steve Matesich ’91, Jesuit’s admissions director, and three Jesuit High School teachers – Jonathan Barlaan ’07, Karen St. John, and Ben Parker ’13, along with Fr. Francis Brou, S.J.

Several Jesuit students and young alumni served as Jesuit Summer Bridge counselors, including some who also are Summer Bridge alums such as Zarrius Young '17, Justin Sanchez '17, as well as current students Lazaro Alvelaez '18, Bryce Connolly '18, Jacob Thompson '18, and Daniel Villavicencio '18. Other student counselors included Eric Irani '18 and Brett Sandborn '18

At graduation, the best Jesuit Summer Bridge students were honored for their excellence and 5-week improvement in the core academic areas, as well as for things such as sportsmanship and being "Men for Others," the Jesuit High School motto (all award winners are listed below). Also, Jesuit Summer Bridge took two fabulous field trips that aligned with this year’s theme “Build Up One Another,” to the acclaimed Art of the Brick exhibit downtown, and an all-day experience at Legoland. 

“The camaraderie and bonding – the environment in the program – makes it special,” Collazo said. “They’re learning while having fun and making friends.”

Whether honing the critical math and language skills, learning to make ice cream, utilizing Bricks 4 Kidz, touring the campus construction site, absorbing lessons from special guest speakers, assisting with campus recycling, or enhancing their artistic skills with instruction from Jesuit’s Fine Arts department head Kevin Ball '03, Jesuit Summer Bridge students gained tremendously this summer.

 “The impact of Jesuit Summer Bridge can be seen in the number of former students who come back each summer as counselors, to give back, and in positive the feedback we get from the middle schools,” Collazo said.

Jesuit Summer Bridge is for students entering 6-8th grade in the fall, and most come from Hillsborough County public schools. It 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.

The top photo slideshow below is from weeks 3-5 of Jesuit Summer Bridge, and the bottom photo slideshow is from weeks 1-2. Below that is a listing of the award winners from Jesuit Summer Bridge 2017.

For information about Jesuit Summer Bridge 2018, email



Excellence in Language Arts 6 Noah Roberts Webb
Excellence in Language Arts 7 Oscar Campo Henderson Hammock
Excellence in Language Arts 8 Keshaun Walker Village of Excellence
Excellence in Math 6 Christian Solano Trinity
Excellence in Math 7 Dominic Lyons Trinity
Excellence in Math 8 Justin Anderson Rampello
Excellence in Critical Thinking 6 Francisco Dominguez-Perez Egypt Lake
Excellence in Critical Thinking 7 Machiah Maddox Martinez
Excellence in Critical Thinking 8 James Robitaille Webb
Men for Others 6 Francisco Dominguez-Perez Egypt Lake
Men for Others 7 Dominic Lyons Trinity
Men for Others 8 James Robitaille Webb
Highest Score in Testing 6 Oscar Soriano Heritage
Highest Score in Testing 7 Calvin Green Trinity
Highest Score in Testing 8 Lucas Ospinas Hills. Academy Math+Science
Most Improved Score in Testing 6 John Castellanos St. Joseph
Most Improved Score in Testing 7 Christian Vincent Franklin
Most Improved Score in Testing 8 Eliaz Lopez Webb
Sportsmanship Oscar Campo Henderson Hammock
Outstanding Counselor Brett Sandborn Jesuit



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