This article was originally published in the Fall 2011 Harker Quarterly.
This summer middle and high school students seized the opportunity to gain school credit and enhance their overall educational experience by attending classes at Harker’s Summer Institute. Classes were offered in three categories: for-credit, upper school enrichment and middle school enrichment. With the exception of AP Biology and AP Chemistry, all courses were open to both Harker and non-Harker students.
For-credit courses provided students with an opportunity to earn academic credit through a variety of rigorous courses in math, the arts and technology. The small class sizes ensured that students received the right amount of individual attention. Students enrolled in middle and upper school enrichment classes to take advantage of programs that foster their interests.
Classes in these programs included everything from pre- calculus to robotics to musical improvisation, all taught by dedicated, skillful and experienced instructors.
J Gaston, who taught graphic arts and photography, thinks students benefit both from the small class sizes and the longer class sessions. “The four-hour classes give the opportunity to get in- depth with projects and take the time that the process of art and design really requires,” he said. “We do end up getting more done, simply because the students can complete the projects without having to start and stop.”
Joshua Beavin, a Harker student in grade 12, enrolled in Gaston’s photography class and enjoyed the time he was allowed to focus on the subject matter. “I think the summer’s a really good time to take these classes, especially because most of them require several hours to really focus on your work,” he said.
Another Harker student, Anisha Padwekar, grade 10, took graphic arts and AP Chemistry. She enjoyed the small class sizes and experimenting with other academic areas that she may be interested in exploring further later in high school. “I was planning on taking AP Studio Art in my senior year,” she said, “but I wasn’t sure what type of art I wanted to do.”
In addition to the academic courses, this year the Summer Institute also offered an afternoon activity program with a wide variety of activities, including studying, swimming, crafts, games and more.