Educational opportunities facilitate learning over the summer


Kaitlyn Cheng, Features Editor

With the pressure of exams and SOLs finally coming to an end, the final days of school are now just within students’ reach. While many are looking forward to relax and recharge before diving into the next school year, some plan to take advantage of unique educational experiences that are offered to them over the summer.

One prestigious program students are attending is Governor’s School. Sophomores and juniors were able to to apply for this opportunity last October; visual and performing arts program applicants were even required to go through an adjudication process, where students would audition in front of a panel of judges if they passed the first round of the application process.

“I found out [that I got into The Governor’s School for Visual and Performing Arts on] April 15,” junior and violinist Josh Sukhdeo said. “I was really scared when I got the letter because [for] the whole time from my adjudication [to then], I was constantly telling myself that I played really well, and the truth of how I did at the audition was right there [in the letter]. After I opened it and found out I got in, I rejoiced.”

Governor’s School programs are held through the month of July and are located in several different universities around Virginia, including Christopher Newport University and Virginia Commonwealth University. Attendants will take on intensive schedules that incorporate a wide variety of classes aligned with their personal interests.

“I’m interested in humanities, economics, literature and history, so I thought [The Governor’s School for Humanities] would be a good fit [for me],” junior Christine Shan said. “I looked at some of the classes they offer and I’m interested in [taking] the Peace and Conflict Resolution [or the] Leadership classes. I know there’s also a lot of smaller classes like yoga that you do on the side.”

This four-week-long program encourages students to delve deep into their passions and discover new information through hands-on experiences.  

“I thought [Governor’s School] would be a really good experience; it’s not just a normal summer camp where you do [things like] camping [because] it [runs] for [almost] the whole summer and you actually continue to learn for the [whole time],” Shan said.

By attending Governor’s School, students hope to gain knowledge and form connections with peers who have similar interests.

“In addition to becoming a better musician, I think I’ll also be able to make some great memories with new friends and know what they’re thinking about [in terms of] colleges and plans after high school,” Sukhdeo said.

Summer internships provide another opportunity for students to remain involved in academic pursuits throughout the summer.

“I had the opportunity this year to apply for a congressional aide program, which means that for a portion of this summer, I’ll be helping out at an office for a member of Congress,” junior Alayna Lee said. “[The member I am going to work with] is Kathy Castor, who represents Florida’s 14th district in the House of Representatives.”

During this internship, Lee’s work will consist of sending emails, conducting calls and sorting or delivering messages.

“I chose to apply because I’ve always been really interested in politics,” Lee said. “I do congressional debate, so I thought it would be a really good opportunity to get to work under an actual congresswoman. It sounded like an in-depth learning experience and a way to see if I actually could pursue a career in government.”

Sophomore Nia Hoq also plans to do an internship this summer at George Washington University for HIV research.    

“I [will be] coordinating social media and research [as well as] helping [my] team leader with various coordination for research and awareness [at my] six-week-long internship,” Hoq said.

Whether it’s through chamber music classes or doing secretarial work for a politician, these firsthand learning experiences will benefit students by fully immersing them in their personal interests.   

“[My internship will help me] because I want to go into the medical field [in the future],” Hoq said. “I think that [hands-on experiences] like internships [are] very interesting and [serve as] really great exposure.”