BY SARAH ROUSSELL
When the school year comes to a close and summer rolls in, there is always that exhilarating feeling of knowing that the next two months are completely open to the endless possibilities of “whatever you want” activities. Whether it’s lazy days spent poolside, going to the movies during the week or packing up the car and heading out to the local beach, the majority of Cooper City High School students dedicate their summer to endless hours of carefree fun. However, this past summer, several CCHS students chose to spend their vacation attending vocational conferences and workshops at different colleges and universities.
Senior Emily Slavin was one of those students. This summer, Slavin spent seven weeks at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass.
“I’ve always wanted to go to Harvard,” Slavin said. “By attending the school for the summer, I was be able to see if I actually liked it. I’ve taken tours and visited the campus before, but this opportunity allowed me to gain experience.”
Slavin was given the unique opportunity of enrolling in a secondary school program at Harvard where she took a variety of academic classes and earned college credit. During her seven-week stay, Slavin lived on campus and went through her day as if she was an actual student.
“It was an amazing experience to say the least,” Slavin said. “The whole feeling of being there was incredible. I’ve wanted to go to Harvard ever since I can remember and now I actually have a bunch a friends there, so if I go next year it’ll be an even greater experience.”
Ranging from journalism workshops at Northwestern University, to health and medicine programs at the University of Miami, the opportunity to attend occupational conferences of various avenues is a highly beneficial one for students.
Dr. Fred Blevens, a professor at Florida International University and director of the Peace Sullivan/ James Ansin High School Workshop in Journalism and New Media, has worked and interacted with many high school students throughout the years. As a director of the three-week workshop located at the University of Miami, Blevens has witnessed the long-term benefits that these programs can provide high school students.
“If a student is lucky enough to get into a residential workshop, the benefits double.” Blevens said. “There can be nothing more frightening than moving into a dormitory without ever having lived in a dorm. More importantly, there’s no way to describe to a high school student how intense college can be if they haven’t immersed themselves in one of these experiential workshops.”
Like Slavin, a handful of other CCHS students spent their summer at various colleges and universities.
“It’s a good trend to start,” senior Ashley Dixon said. “You’re getting the college experience while getting to meet new people and learn new things.”
Dixon spent three weeks this summer studying at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. with the Summer Scholars program, a program that gave students the opportunity to explore various academic fields while earning college credit. As a participant of the program, Dixon was able to gain hands on experience of what college life is like for three weeks.
Specifically studying the field of health and medicine, Dixon attended lectures and took classes exclusively geared to the subject. She was even given the opportunity to go on field trips to hospitals, where she got to see the different specialties and departments.
“It opened my eyes to the various fields within the field,” Dixon said. “I realized how many avenues and fields of study are open for me.”
By choosing to participate in such workshops, these students received a picture of what life will be like after high school.
“I expected to just get college credit,” Dixon said. “But, I really got much more out of it. I met so many new and different people. I realized that there’s more out there then just Cooper City.”