Students learn about the Harkness Summer Program

Students and Ms. Spitz at the informational meeting. Photo Credits: Gisselle Vargas

By Gisselle Vargas ‘20

On Friday, Apr. 27 at around 1 p.m., freshmen, sophomores, and juniors met at the cafeteria to learn about a Harkness Summer Program opportunity being held at Pritzker from Carrie Spitz, principal, and Katie Curtin, Journalism teacher.

To attend this informational meeting, students had to be invited through teacher recommendations. Being able to participate is an opportunity not many have but an opportunity many want. Bryan Zumba, a sophomore, said he is “glad to know that teachers notice his love of learning.”

The Harkness program is a collaboration with the best high school in the nation- Phillips Exeter Academy located in Boston, Massachusetts- to better prepare Pritzker students for college by taking rigorous courses over the summer.

The classes are student led and contain about 10-15 people per class- Harkness style. According to Marelen Ocampo, a current junior, this is her favorite style of learning: “The classes are small, and you learn new things which helped me prepare for my sophomore year.” She has been in the program since her freshman year.

Another junior, Laura Diaz, claims to like the “real world applications” she has learned.

Many students want to attend these classes because colleges will see that students are learning over the summer, are involved with Phillips Exeter Academy, and are earning .25 enrichment credit for each class. Diaz agrees that “having access to an opportunity like is very helpful.”

Students have four  class options: Humanities A and B, in which students will learn about U.S History from a non white perspective and storytelling through podcasts, respectively;  Math, in which students will be dealing with money and personal finance; and Science, in which students will learn about Bioethics. Unfortunately, Melissa Hernandez, a freshman, said she will not be attending because she is “busy over the summer” but is extremely interested in the science class.

This session would only last 11 days from June 23rd- July 10, and each class is only one hour long. Students are able to take more than one class. In addition, each class is $50, a much cheaper cost than at Exeter!

But how do students apply? At the informational meeting, all students received a yellow application form with each class’s description on one side, and the other side is for the student to fill out. Once filled out, the application must be turned in to Curtin’s room (116).

If the student wants to attend, they must sign up quickly! Over 200 students were invited, but only 90 will be accepted; space is very limited. According to an email sent by Curtin, more than half the spots filled up the first day of turning in the applications!

Are students willing to sacrifice some of their summer time to benefit themselves in the future?