Standing before a captive audience, Dr. George Hagerty swapped his mantle as Beacon College president for a skipper’s hat.
Little did the 34 families who traveled from 14 states and Ecuador to participate in the next evolution of the college’s Summer for Success program realize that Hagerty and his faculty would soon lead their high schoolers on yet another journey.
The Summer for Success program, Hagerty said, was created “to expose you to the world of college so that you feel comfortable with the expectations. You will live the college experience the next three weeks. Professors will put you though your paces. We want you to explore both that college is achievable and that you can be a great success at it.”
With that, Hagerty christened the maiden voyage of Summer for Success, the college’s three-week immersion experience that exposes rising high school juniors and seniors to a concentrated taste of the college experience and arms students who learn differently with strategies and life skills to bolster their success in high school and beyond.
Summer for Success shores up students’ communications and life skills with courses in “Writing an Effective Essay” and “Learning Essentials & Self-Discovery,” and gives students room to explore interests with electives in car ownership basics, digital video, everyday Florida science, food preparation, sculptural casting and more.
As Hagerty and other program leaders explained the what-to-expects, parents rubbed their students’ shoulders and patted backs as if to say telepathically, “everything will be alright.”
Something that Hagerty noticed.
“We hope that you gain an increasing notion of independence. Sometimes, the student wants to let go, but the parent doesn’t,” he said, half-joking.
The year’s edition represents the full realization of Summer of Success, piloted last year with students from Saudi Arabia.
This year, 34 students from across the United States — a sampling of the 5 percent or more American schoolchildren who struggle with learning disabilities as classified by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act — have come to discover their abilities.
A point that Dale Herold, vice president of enrollment management, hammered home.
“We’re really hoping you have the opportunity in the next few weeks to pick up a few skills and learn about yourself,” she said.