Merritt Summer Programs Pave Way to Higher Education
More than 50 high school students in the Adelante Summer Bridge Program at Merritt and Fruitvale are transitioning toward the next step in their education as they explore college and careers and find out the benefits of attending Merritt College. The program is one of several summer opportunities at Merritt to give participants a taste of Merritt at an age when they are beginning to consider their paths beyond high schoo
The 7-year-old program, which started in Fruitvale and expanded to the Merritt campus three years ago, offers students
classes in English and Counseling and gives them a comprehensive overview of college life. For the first time this year, the East Bay College Fund, which supports Oakland high school students in furthering their education, is partnering with the Adelante Program and offering $1,000 scholarships to students who complete the summer program and enroll at Merritt with specific requirements. Last year 75% of the participants enrolled at Merritt. (Pictured top left: English class at Merritt taught by Noel Fagerhaugh; and top right: English class at Fruitvale taught by Daniel Guerrero. The counseling instructor at Merritt is Rosa Perez and at Fruitvale is Marty Zielke.)
“Our mission is to provide a supporting and caring environment to these students who we recruited from Oakland feeder high schools, the majority from underserved populations,” says Program Coordinator Rosa Perez. “The students are engaged and excited. We tell them, ‘You guys are ahead of the game!’”
Another successful summer program, now approaching its tenth year, is Merritt’s Kids Camp which has a specialty of turning educational lessons and positive college-going talks with fun, hands-on experiences that the campers love.
By the end of the two-week camp, the 30 students in 6th-9th grades had dissected cows’ hearts and eyeballs in microscopy, made slime in chemistry, learned hip-hop in dance class, learned lots of nutrition tips. discovered new computer programs, found out about careers in police work, and participated in a cupcake-decorating competition. At the end-of-camp celebration, each camper showed what they learned by giving a presentation on their education and career goals and showing how they would start a business.
“It’s a great opportunity for the campers to try out different activities that may give them ideas about future careers,” says Ne’Shawn Dixon, Kids College Coordinator in Division I. “We’re lucky at Merritt to have such great programs for the students to participate in and instructors who are willing to give their time.”
Ne’Shawn recalled one experience that really made her appreciate her role. “I was so excited last year to have a Merritt student come into my office and remind me that he had been a middle-school student at camp years ago. He told me that his camp experience was what made him want to come back to Merritt. It made all the work worthwhile to know that we are reaching students who are coming back to continue their education here at Merritt.”
Young students interested in computers were thrilled to get hands-on experience in cybersecurity as part of the five-day CyberPatriots Camp. This is the second year that Merritt was invited to participate in this nationwide effort by the Air Force Association to inspire students to pursue STEM-related activities and participate in competitions with other cybercamps around the country.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for students with an interest in computer science, technology, engineering and math to get experience for their future education and careers,” says Anita Black, Program Director for Merritt’s Cybersecurity Program, who oversaw the camp which was coordinated and led by instructor Beverly Brooks. “We hope to see some of the participants in our own program in a few years!”