| Even younger pupils have summer
options at Saint Mary's College High
Panther Preview gives middle school students the opportunity to explore the Saint Mary's College High School campus – and beyond.
At one time, the deer that live near Saint Mary's College High School might have had to share the pastoral campus with only the neighborhood cats in the summer.
Entering its third year, the program accepts rising sixth- seventh- and eighth-graders. It's quite the introduction to life at the high school. Its faculty includes "our most Saint Mary's people," Mahoney said. Students attend math and English classes in the morning, followed by an afternoon program with an emphasis on Bay Area history and cultural diversity.
No more. With summer programs for its incoming freshman class and student athletes in place, the Berkeley campus is also home to a younger group of students.
"We do a lot of programs for our incoming freshman class," said Catherine Mahoney, who directs the summer program. With students coming from so many different middle schools, the program is designed not only to fill in any gaps in their academic preparation but "to provide the opportunity to get to know people they're going to make a family with for the next four years."
In the effort to build community, Saint Mary's begins with orientation in May. About half the freshman class will be on campus at some point in the summer, either in sports camps or in academic enrichment, Mahoney said.
The program for middle-school students, Panther Preview, "has really evolved," Mahoney said. This summer, it will be offered July 8-19 for about 20 students.
The work in the morning is connected to the afternoon work. In English, for example, the writing relates to the theme of the different people who settled California at different times. In math, there's an emphasis on problem-solving.
Students last year performed a play as a service project. The children at St. Vincent Day Home in West Oakland were the audience.
And, Mahoney added, there's time for "bowling, pizza and bonding."
Mahoney said she hopes the Panther Preview students will "take away a better sense of who they are as an individual" while understanding how "one's individuality is connected to the community."
Sports camps appeal to students from fourth- through eighth-grade. Volleyball and basketball are among the offerings, and golf has been added. A class on training techniques for sports has been added for middle school pupils.
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