Old Colony Regional Vocational Technical High School ran their 2ndAnnual Summer Discovery Experience for students entering grades 4-9 the week of July 16-20. Over 100 students participated in selections that included Metal Art – Welding for beginners, Not Your Father’s Carpentry (a combination course where students acquired skills in both CADD and Carpentry), Automotive Maintenance; Computer Science (Apps that Change the World), The Sweet Life and Test Kitchen Culinary Experiences, Lego Robotics, Electronics Engineering; Cosmetology, Fun and Games Sports Camp, Football, Soccer, and Basketball.
“The purpose of the program was multi-faceted,” said Superintendent-Director Aaron Polansky.
The Summer Discovery Experience provides students in grades 4-9 from the community with a wonderful opportunity to learn more about what Old Colony has to offer. Students can leave the comfort of their couches, iPhones, and their traditional learning spaces to expand their capacities by learning about something they may not have been familiar with prior to walking through the doors of a vocational school.
The program also gives current Old Colony students the opportunity to work as mentors for younger students involved in the program. Over 25 students took time from their summer vacation to volunteer at the Summer Discovery Experience. This speaks volumes to the relationships that the Old Colony staff has with the students, and to the commitment the Old Colony students have made to giving back.
In the inaugural year of the Summer Discovery Experience, the Old Colony administrative team took on a big portion of the organization. When asked about year two, Polansky indicated that his assistant, Jolene Costa, and members of the front office team, took on the behind-the-scenes and daily operations in a flawless manner. The program grew by almost 25 percent in year two.
“Every contributor who made our Summer Discovery Experience possible did so with a people firstfocus. We pride our school culture on the importance of relationships,” said Polansky. “We’re focused on living with a glass half full, if not overflowing. Our staff brought that during Summer Discovery, and they bring the same competence, passion, and connection every day of the school year.
“Students are a name in our hallways, not a number. When students complete our Summer Discovery Experience, our hope is that they love what they’ve learned and feel a connection to Old Colony as a result of their experience. It’s not just students. We want parents, siblings, and our own staff to feel a closer connection because of this collaborative effort.”
Shortly after the start of the week, and upon completion of required safety instruction, you can enter classrooms and find middle school-aged students repairing cars, preparing your favorite culinary dishes, assembling robots, soldering electronics, working with torches as they welded their metal art, programming apps, and designing their carpentry projects in a computer lab as they prepared for their hands-on work later in the week.
Students participating in the Old Colony Summer Discovery Experience are given the opportunity to hone their skillsets in areas of interest while building meaningful relationships with each other, mentoring students, and members of the Old Colony community. Students leave feeling valued and accomplished. When students have that feeling, it’s transformative.