Smoothies, Beaches, and … Books?


Adil Shariff, Staff Writer

After going through a long, long, long school year, students are excited for summer. The last thing anyone wants to do is to do more “education stuff.” But some students are planning to attend amazing summer programs. A good summer program can be a great way to fit a vacation and an educational program all in one.

But why do students attend these types of programs when they might otherwise enjoy lolling on the beach, sleeping in late, and watching summer television? One reason is to make college applications stand out. But attending these programs can lead to something more meaningful; students get to have a valuable life experiences that they may remember for the rest of their lives. Here’s a list of some of the programs ODA students are taking advantage of this summer:

Invisible Children Summit in Los Angeles

Several members of the ODA Invisible Children Club were recently invited to attend the Invisible Children Fourth Estate Leadership Summit. The summit teaches both students and educators valuable skills to help them become better leaders in their communities and even around the world. This year, the summit will be held at the University of California Los Angeles campus. Sophomores Francisco Marcano, Ben Martin, Rachel Rodgers, Morgan Woods, and Federico Frias will be the first ODA students to attend this  summit in Los Angeles in August.

“I am excited to learn more about Invisible Children itself. I’ve wanted to become more involved in Invisible Children. I wanted to learn more about the issues in Uganda and help give African children peace,” says Rachel Rodgers ’15.

“I love traveling and meeting different people that have common interests. But I also want to experience a once-in-a-lifetime [learning opportunity],” says Rachel.

Emerson Creative Writers Workshop

The Emerson Creative Writers Workshop is a pre-college program in which students develop their writing skills in genres such as non-fiction and screenwriting. Over the five week program, students work on their portfolios that they can submit to colleges. Students also have the chance to talk to special guest writers and publishers. Junior Nikki LaSalla will return for a second summer workshop at Emerson this year.

“I love Emerson. The program was really specific and sounded really fun because I love creative writing,” said Nikki.

“I hope to become a better writer and have a better sense of my writing style,” she added.

CDC Summer Camp

The Center for Disease Control is known for their studies on disease outbreaks around the world. Based in Atlanta, Georgia, the CDC holds a summer program called the Disease Detective Camp. Each year, 27 students are accepted into the week-long program. They learn more about the public health field and learn more of what scientists do at the CDC. Students have the opportunity to visit a lab and conduct experiments to determine whether or not a string of bacteria is an outbreak. They also get the opportunity to take part in a mock press conference, just like the ones the CDC holds!

I recently applied and got accepted into the program. I am very excited to attend and I hope that I will come out of the program more informed about the public health field. This might even help me choose a major and eventually a career.

Summer China Trip

This past February, ODA welcomed its first foreign exchange students: Jane, Eva, Jackie, and Jason. For the three weeks they were here in America, they attended classes like normal ODA students, but also got to explore Florida by taking day trips to the Ringling Museum, Myakka State Park, and Orlando. Now six ODA students will head to China to experience Jane, Eva, Jackie, and Jason’s school.

Kelli Bagwell ’14, Sam Hajduk ’16, Erick Pena ’16, Owen Han ’16, Bam Han, ’17, Oliver Tannheiser ’15 will be attending Beijing High School #4 this summer.

“I am excited!” says Kelli Bagwell, ’14.

When asked what he is most excited for, Sam Hajduk ’16 replied with a simple, “Food!” He also hopes to come back with changed taste buds.

These are just a few of the programs students are attending this summer. Interested in doing one yourself? Well, one tip is to start early. If you haven’t already started, start exploring programs that you are interested in that still have openings. Doing meaningful summer work will look good on your college application, and you just might tap into a passion.