DHS dives into summer opportunities

By MACKENZIE HOWE

Danville High School

Two great philosophers once said, “There’s a hundred-and-four days of summer vacation, and school comes along just to end it, so the annual problem of our generation is finding a good way to spend it.” Okay, so maybe the philosophers in question are from Disney Channel’s “Phineas and Ferb,” but those animated adventurers have a great point. Summer vacation is the only time of the year when it’s acceptable to wear a bathing suit 24/7, sleep in until noon, and flirt with that super attractive public pool lifeguard. But to many Danville Admirals, summertime is an opportunity for personal, professional, and academic growth.

One way DHS students and teachers are growing this year is through educational programs like STEAM. This two-week summer program is designed to promote learning and interest in science, technology, engineering, the arts, math, and several other creative or life skills studies. Last summer, the STEAM program offered courses in forensic anatomy, engineering, cooking, drama, trivia, and crafts. One DHS senior, Kennedy Walker, is preparing for her third summer working as a teacher’s assistant for the program. “It doesn’t pay much,” Walker says, “but STEAM is such a great opportunity to work with little kids. I am going to college to major in elementary education, so it gives me the chance to get experience in teaching and supervising kids.” In this case, Walker is dedicated to engaging herself professionally for the future by utilizing a program in her own community.

While STEAM is an easily accessible (and paid!) summer gig, DHS students are also finding other ways to spend their break. One student is Claire Strysick, a rising junior, who has already booked up most of her summer days. “I am working some as a lifeguard at the Danville Country Club,” she says. “But in July I will be going on a three week backpacking trip.” Strysick plans on enjoying several weeks of her summer months hiking and camping trip to get real-life experience learning about the world around her and getting in touch with herself personally.

Even more summer options are available for DHS staff and students. Jennifer Shearer, one of Danville’s English teachers and the head cheerleading coach, is hosting mandatory cheerleading conditioning and practices over the summer. “It is important that we get in shape and learn all our routines early because we want to be ready by the first football game in the fall and have the endurance to last for the entire season,” Shearer says. While she says she will spend much of her summer hanging out with her daughter Ava, preparing her classes for the fall, and buying a new laptop, a lot of Shearer’s summer will be dedicated to working on an activity she loves.

Danville students are determined in spending their summer on worthwhile causes. Some, like rising senior swimmers Haley Akers and Elisabeth Nesmith, will use their free months to compete on summer swimming and diving teams. Others, such as current junior Caroline Bugg, are using summer to give back to their community. She is the primary student coordinator for the Trinity Episcopal Church children’s reading camp on Main Street in Danville. Bugg, who has volunteered for the camp many summers, says, “Reading camp provides a great opportunity to provide support for children while they’re learning to read. While I don’t necessarily have an affinity towards children, I also realize the importance of helping them.”

While summer is a great time to relax and enjoy time in the sun, Admirals are also sure to take advantage of their time to benefit themselves in personal and educational ways. From community service to work to travel, DHS is working hard to use those 104 (or more like 70) days wisely.