The Blue & Gold

The official newspaper of Chamblee High School, preserving the past for the future today!

The official newspaper of Chamblee High School, preserving the past for the future today!

The Blue & Gold

The official newspaper of Chamblee High School, preserving the past for the future today!

The Blue & Gold

From Travelling to Trampolining: Chamblee Students Applying to Plethora of Summer Programs

Nasir Harrison (’24) at Sky Zone. Photo courtesy of Nasir Harrison

Although many students have been thinking about the long-awaited break that comes after the holiday season, some students have their minds set on summer. Chamblee students have begun to plan everything from vacations to their next academic endeavors. However, those hoping to participate in summer activities have been going through rigorous processes applying to camps and summer programs, both academic and extracurricular. 

Some students are preparing to apply to collegiate programs, many of which open applications in January.

“I am interested in Georgia Tech’s Science, Technology, and Engineering Pipeline (STEP) program for aerospace engineering and the Georgia Tech School of Industrial Design’s [program] for general engineering. For the STEP program, there are a few week-long programs—I think three or four weeks—and the principle is to design a rover or some sort of space equipment. The goal is to learn more about aerospace engineering and the engineering design process as a whole,” said Luke Simonsen (‘25).

There are numerous colleges that host programs similar to this, the University of Georgia being one of them.

“UGA hosts [their Summer Academy] every year, which is really fun. I’ve done it two years in a row now, and it’s really fun. You get to take a class at UGA, stay on campus, and do an activity with the whole camp. It’s really fun, and I recommend it to everybody,” said Nasir Harrison (‘24).

Beyond academics, many students have hobbies they continue to pursue and develop through other camps over the summer.

“I want to find out about either gymnastics or trampolining camp, because it seems like it would be really fun to do,” said Harrison.

Alessia Escobar (’26) observing marine life at an aquarium in Paris. Photo courtesy of Alessia Escobar

Students also pursue career-enhancing opportunities, like internships, over the summer.

“Georgia Aquarium has an internship program for youth that helps them adjust to going to work, and they teach you how to handle marine life and interact with visitors,” said Alessia Escobar (‘26). “I’ve wanted to do [marine biology] since I was 12. I just love learning about the different marine ecosystems, both freshwater and saltwater, and [how] organisms interact with predators.”

While many students pursue academic interests over their hobbies during the summer, others are just looking for a good time and fun camps.

“I’m going to a camp for Muslim Youth in North America (MYNA). We stay at a camp for a week and do recreational games like archery, swimming, [and] rock climbing, and we also have lectures. I did the program last summer, and I would definitely recommend others to go. It’s easy to make friends with the overnight camp being a week [long]. It’s worth the money and time,” said Olashayo Agboola (‘26).

One common program Chamblee students are interested in is the Governor’s Honors Program (GHP). GHP is a month-long program where students— rising juniors and seniors—get to major and minor in subjects of their choice. 

“I am applying [to GHP] for [Communicative Arts]. I love science and English equally, and I’m hoping that my writing skills will help me write reports for data collection in the future,” said Escobar.

While the application process can seem lengthy and tedious, students find the potential of acceptance worth the effort and time.

“[To apply], you have to be nominated by a teacher, and then you fill out an application of your own—it’s pretty simple. [Applicants] get emailed back and will be interviewed if your school nominates you. The interview, in my experience, was pretty easy, but it’s almost a month-long [process],” said Escobar.

Last school year, many of Chamblee’s students attended GHP. One alumni emphasizes the importance of passion for those applying. 

“I went to the Governor’s Honors Program as a math major [last summer]. That was really fun—I highly recommend it to anybody. [If you are applying], make sure you display your passion. [Passion is] kind of a running joke in the GHP community, but it’s really crucial to genuinely display that you want to do the subject and that you want to take as much as you can from it,” said Simonsen.

Luke Simonsen (’25) and others at GHP in the summer of 2023.
Photo courtesy of Luke Simonsen

Some students look forward to seeing those they met at camp again and have been waiting to reunite with.

“I’m really excited. I miss [camp]—there’s just an empty feeling now. I’m looking forward to seeing my friends again because the camp has people from all over, including people from Dubai and Puerto Rico. I don’t get to see them [outside of camp], so I look forward to that,” said Agboola.

There are numerous programs that occur outside of the United States to allow participants to be immersed in other countries’ cultures and languages.

“I am applying to the National Security Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y), which is a study abroad [program] where you get to live in a country for a month, from mid-June to mid-July, and focus on learning the language. I’m applying to the Korean program because it’s where my mom is from, and I think it’d be cool to learn the language and get to speak it with her,” said Shae Cotter (‘25). “I was definitely looking at study abroad programs over the summer. I would say that people should apply if [they] are thinking about [doing any summer programs] because I think for a lot of people, studying abroad can be really exciting.”

For those who may be interested in the program, Cotter shares her experience with the application.

“[I had to submit] a lot of information about my family and me because [the program is] part of the U.S. Department of State, and they have to confirm [your citizenship in the U.S.] to see if you are eligible [for NSLI-Y]. Then, there were a few essays I had to write. There was one about what you want to do in the program and another where you [write] a letter to your future host family, which was really fun. If you make it to the second stage, there’s an interview with an alumnus or [program organizer]. From there, if you make it past that stage, you’re accepted to the program,” said Cotter.

Students with experience attending summer programs have advice to those who might be considering such programs, noting things to keep in mind.

“[I would say] branch out; I think summer is a good time to experiment, meet new people, and make connections. Even if it’s not all corporate [networking], just making new friends and experimenting can be fun,” said Simonsen.

While summer programs can be enriching, fun, and unique experiences, striking a balance between participation and leaving time to relax is important. 

“I would recommend that other students apply to summer programs—I think it’s good to have [an experience different] from school,” said Escobar. “Obviously, don’t book your whole summer, but it’s good to keep busy so the transition back to school isn’t so jarring.”.


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Amalee McWaters, Staff Writer
Amalee McWaters (‘26) is a sophomore and Staff Writer of the Blue & Gold. In five years, she sees herself studying journalism at university in Austria. Her three favorite things are music, fashion, and journalism.

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