SEAD students bid farewell to College

by Susan Matthews | 7/27/09 10:00pm

Correction appended

The 28 high school students who participated in Summer Enrichment at Dartmouth this year left campus Saturday morning after three weeks of classes and activities aimed at enabling them to apply to and succeed in college.

The program culminated with a graduation ceremony on July 24, which included final presentations of the projects the students had been working on during their time at the College, according to assistant director Maggie Goldstein '10.

"The smaller presentations were especially meaningful," said academic coach Emily Broas '11, whose student did her project on environmental conservation in the Upper Valley. "They all felt very proud of what they accomplished."

Over 100 people who had been involved in the SEAD programs attended the graduation ceremony, creating a "special experience," Jay Davis '90, director of the program and an education professor, said.

"It's great to have everyone who is involved in one place," Goldstein said.

Each student had an academic coach who helped with work from his or her classes, which focused on the humanities and environmental science, Goldstein said, along with a mentor who spent time with them outside of academic activities. The students went camping, traveled to a laboratory on an island in Maine and participated in activities that ranged from an outdoor carnival to white water rafting.

The relationships that students make with Dartmouth undergraduates are particularly important to the program's sucess, Davis said, recalling that one student had likened his experience at Dartmouth to what it would be like to attend Hogwarts.

The student described Dartmouth as a place "where people knew these skills he had that he didn't know he had," Davis said.

The SEAD students also participated in the 28th Annual Prouty Century Bike Ride and Challenge Walk this summer, raising over $10,500 for the Norris Cotton Cancer Center, Goldstein said. The night before the event, Broas, who is a leukemia survivor, spoke with the students about the importance of the research that the money would fund.

"I was really nervous about it," Broas said. "I hadn't talked to a group of strangers about [having cancer] before."

The SEAD students were supportive and asked thoughtful questions, she said.

"For me it was one of the coolest things ever," Broas said, adding that her participation in the program this summer has inspired her to become a teacher.

The SEAD program is funded through donations from individuals and foundations, but is housed by the Tucker Foundation and the education department at Dartmouth, Davis said.

A core staff of upperclassmen runs the program. Approximately 75 sophomores on campus for sophomore summer are heavily involved as mentors or academic coaches and about 200 other sophomores become involved indirectly by planning events or cooking meals for the students, Goldstein said.

"Our success is completely dependent on the generosity of spirit of the Dartmouth community and these kids deserve it," Davis said.

He cited the lunches and dinners that organizations such as 2011 Class Council, the Office of Pluralism and Leadership, Greek organizations and affinity houses provided for the students as evidence of that generosity.

The involvement of so many students, beyond those who serve as academic coaches or mentors, allows SEAD students to interact with a wide variety of mentors during their time on campus and is "a really important window into the experience," Davis said.

This year, the program saw the addition of an Activities Crew, which organized events, and a Skills Committee, which assisted students during classes and study halls. Both groups were extremely successful and will be included in the program in the future, meaning that more students will be able to volunteer, Goldstein said.

"We have so many people apply to the program, and we wanted to find more ways for people to get involved," she said.

SEAD is a rewarding program for students and mentors alike, academic coach Justin Lee '11 said.

"[The students] all loved it," he said. "I would love it too if 100 college students were just thinking of fun stuff for me to do. It was just a really well run program from the ground up."

Both Lee and Broas said they would stay in contact with their mentees throughout the year, especially since they are expected to begin applying to colleges later this year. Maintaining contact once the students return home is essential to the program's success, according to Goldstein. The SEAD students will return in the Winter for a reunion prior to returning to campus for their final session next summer.

**The original version of this article incorrectly stated that SEAD is independent of the College. In fact, while SEAD receives funding from sources outside the College, it is a Dartmouth program.*

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