The majority of Jesuit's classrooms lay dormant in June, as the students take summer vacation. But the Art Studio and Computer Science rooms are thriving thanks to the increased interest in this year's Summer Courses, which also include a virtual option in math.
The for-credit Summer Courses are being offered to rising sophomores for the third straight year. Studio Art I and Computer Science are tandem courses (students who wish to take one must take both) available to those looking to get ahead of their second school year at Jesuit. This summer, 64 students are enrolled, tripling 2020's total.
Assistant Principal for Academics Debra Pacheco said many of the summer sophomores were attracted to taking these required courses now in order to free up a block in their fall schedule.
"I think the main reason (for the enrollment increase) is to have flexibility in their sophomore year," she said. "For some, that means some additional (AP classes), for some it's (so they can take) Engineering, and some have done it to take an additional art course."
Pacheco said there are about 10 different course options that open up for sophomores if they take this dual summer course. However, some students will utilize the empty block for a free period, which can help fuel their faith or a special interest.
"We now have students opting for a free period during lunch, so they can help out with Campus Ministry," Pacheco said. "Every student has a different reason."
Mason Marmino '24 said that he has been interested in Computer Science since middle school and is considering taking AP Computer Science next year.
"I thought, 'Why don't I give it a try over the summer?'" Marmino said. "And then decide if I could move on into a better class sophomore year, if I really liked it."
In addition to Studio Art I and Computer Science, which are taught by Kevin Ball '03 and Jason Ault, respectively, students interested in accelerated mathematics can take Pre-Calculus Honors through the Arrupe Virtual Learning Institute (AVLI), an education program offered to students nationwide. The AVLI Pre-Calculus Honors course is taught by Jesuit's own Peggy Martin, and 17 Jesuit rising sophomores are enrolled this summer.
Martin also teaches Geometry and Trigonometry through AVLI to students from across the U.S. She said that the summer courses are intensive, as they fit a full school year's course into only two months. This requires her students to commit anywhere from six to eight hours per day. The payoff of such commitment is students can become eligible to take AP Calculus their sophomore year.
"The students who take these summer classes are smart, disciplined, like math, and they are very ambitious," Martin said.