As we dive deeper and deeper into the nationwide STEM initiative, it is more and more apparent that educators must create engaging experiences for students that shed light on the exciting topics STEM subjects explore. From hands-on learning to summer camps devoted to science, technology, engineering and math, we need to offer new experiences for students to see STEM applications first hand. such camp is the summer math and readiness camp held annually at Antioch High School called “a college-going culture through workshops and field trips.” While there isn’t any swimming or bonfires, this summer math camp seeks to bolster students’ math abilities all while providing exciting adventure.

Under the instruction of teacher Lindsay Wisely, 70 incoming freshmen honed their algebra skills and had great fun doing so.

In addition, Wisely said the 4-week program created “a college-going culture through workshops and field trips.”

The students visited Cal State East Bay, Saint Mary’s and UC Davis. They also participated in college workshops in the school’s computer lab with counselor Violeta Orozco. Also on the table were parent workshops, a back-to-school night and even a graduation.

Meeting 16 hours each week, the group was treated to a daily motivational speaker, clinics and lunch.

In its sixth year, the program was originally designed as a coordinated effort between Antioch High and the University of California system. Student applications and personal statements are screened, and then individuals are selected for the month-long program.

Wisely said Blas Guerrero, founder of this math academy, has been an “amazing mentor, who spoke to the students about the obstacles in his own life and how he worked toward a doctorate degree.” Guerrero, a college professor, also helped coordinate many of the events.

She said it was most gratifying to see how engaged the students were.

“They really wanted to be there, really believed that the support they received will help them pass algebra as freshmen, which ultimately will put them on a path to meeting college admissions requirements,” Wisely said.

The program’s director liked that students bought into success and that “it was a parent involvement course.

“Families had many opportunities to come together. The collaboration between students, their families and staff helped to make a cohesive and productive learning environment.”

She enjoyed many aspects of the summer blast, especially the college field trips.

“(I loved) showing the students what college is like and seeing their faces light up. I loved to see how engaged they were. That’s when being an educator is so exciting, seeing students having fun and loving to learn.”

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