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Summer Schooling

            As school begins to wind down and summer starts to emerge, many students begin to plan what they are going to do for their break. While the beach is an obvious hotspot for everyone to visit over their vacation, there are many options for students to be able to prepare themselves for school in August.

Students in our region have many opportunities to explore endeavors outside of the traditional classroom settings. With college admissions and job opportunities becoming more competitive, students have begun to take the initiative to start using their summer break to prepare them for the next school year.

Whether it’s a leadership experience, athletic exposure or academic rigor, there are plenty of ways you can use your summer to help you for school.

Colleges have recently become more selective in reference to admissions. Though grades and standardized test scores are important to get into the schools that students desire to attend, a lot of institutions are now becoming more interested in finding well rounded kids.

Students who have community involvement hours, show leadership skills outside of the classroom and have consistent scholastic achievement score greater chances of doing what they wish when they pursue college opportunities.

Students who lead seem to find more ways to become more proactive in the summer time. Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) is the oldest business student organization in the world. It allows students to prepare for a career in business and interact with students locally, statewide and on a national level. Through competitions, workshops and meetings held year round, students are given the chance to develop leadership skills from sixth through twelfth grade.

Each summer FBLA hosts a national leadership conference where students from all over the country come to compete, learn and socialize with each other. The four-day event gives students the chance to earn national recognition in a certain field of business through competitions and the opportunity to gain insight about the business world through workshops. Some students are scheduled to compete in events such as public speaking, job interviewing and Microsoft office specialties. However, other students test prior to the conference and are able to participate in workshops of their choice. Like other business conferences, there is dress code. With this year’s convention held in Chicago, Illinois, students will also get a chance to travel outside of their community. The summer conference is a great chance for students to gain knowledge outside of the classroom, while still being able to enjoy their summer.

Athletics have become more popular to play during the summer because of the rise in travel sports. Many athletes use travel sports as a way to get exposure to talent and college coaches all across the country. Pine Forest baseball standout, Cobie Vance, has used his summers to try and boost his stock for collegiate and professional baseball teams. At a very young age Vance began to travel around the country playing the game he loves. While travel sports can be played locally, he trotted and played around the nation, including the states of: Florida, Georgia, California and New York. The senior, standing at 5’6, said “I knew it would be a difficult task being recruited to a high level division one program, especially coming out of a small town not widely known for great baseball prospects.” This past summer, Vance performed well in many high level scouted tournaments and earned a scholarship to The University of Alabama. “I want to leave the legacy that if I can make it out of the city and become successful with my circumstance, then anybody can do it.” Vance added, “The baseball I played over the summer was a vital part to my career. It allowed me to embrace diverse lifestyles because of the places I visited and it opened my eyes to see that there are opportunities out in the world for everybody. I encourage kids to go and use their summers for that reason.” Vance is currently being scouted for the 2015 MLB draft and plans to help lead the Pine Forest Trojans deep into the conference and state playoffs.

For most students, once school ends they rarely think about more learning. But, for a selective few kids an opportunity of a lifetime is about to start. The Governor's School of North Carolina is a summer residential program, which lasts for five and a half weeks. A committee of educators selects the brightest nominated high school scholars from around the state to participate in the enrichment filled program.  Students are offered ten areas of study (English, mathematics, dance, natural science, etc.) and are split into groups based on the campus the scholar studies on.  Governor School West is located at Salem College in Winston-Salem and Governor School East is located on the campus of Meredith College in Raleigh. Once they reach campus, students embark on a life-changing journey through classes, activities, seminars, speakers, trips and dorm life. With faculty and staff from various public and private schools, colleges and universities, and independent artists and scholars, the school gives student a diverse way to learn. While away, students are able to experience a college like atmosphere while still being able to interact with their peers from all over the state. This leads kids to the first step in the right direction toward leading others and rewards them with a unique summer experience.

Though those were examples of activities on a larger scale, there are many local activities that can be utilized during the summer. While everybody should have fun in the sun over the break, there are options for students to stay fresh with scholastic endeavors. Whether it’s athletics or academic advancement, students have the resources to help them use their summer as a time for continuous learning. Regardless of where you live, all students should take advantage of the opportunities their community has to offer during the summer.

Grant Bennett is a scholar athlete and rising senior at Pine Forest High School.