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Marianas Variety: Our Oceania: NMC hosts Fun in the Sum Summer Camp (June 27, 2018)

TODAY marked the first session of the Fun in the Sun Summer Camp, a four-week summer program that will guide Tanapag Middle School students through the halls of Northern Marianas College for their first exposure to post-secondary education.

“It is our pleasure at NMC to partner with the Public School System, Career Technical Education, and Tanapag Middle School,” said Arthur de Oro, director of the Community Development Institute at NMC. He hopes that “after going on the campus tour and sitting through introductory classes like Intro to College, College Success, and Career Exploration, it will help them to decide to come to college at NMC after graduating high school.”

Now in its fourth year, the Fun in the Sun Summer Camp 2018 will provide exposure opportunities to 25 students, who eat breakfast at Tanapag Middle School before bussing to NMC to attend “mini-courses” from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., Tuesday through Friday. These courses will span the next four weeks and cover a variety of subjects including college and career planning, martial arts, health and fitness, cultural and modern dance, environmental protection and conservation, weaving, and team-building. They will also take fieldtrips to hike the watershed in Kagman and swim at the Guma Sakman in Susupe.

“Early exposure to higher education and careers is a critical and necessary step towards success in high school and in life,” said de Oro. “Many of our middle school students have not had that exposure or knowledge about higher education or choices available to them after high school. The Fun in the Sun Summer Program continues to provide opportunities that will expose middle school students to higher education and ignite that spark for them to begin thinking about high school, careers, as well as plans for the future.”

“Some kids, they don’t know what they want to do when they’re in high school,” said Jessica Taylor, education specialist for PSS. “I think it’s all about exposure and if the kids know what’s out there for them, then they know they have these other choices.”

Taylor hopes that the program will help students understand and join the different educational, institutional, and career-related networks in their community, so that they can make informed and empowered decisions after they graduate high school. She also helps pair students to internships that fit their skills and interest.

“[Internships] are a great way for students to build their relationships with institutions…they can build relationships so when they do graduate they can say ‘Hey, I can go to NMC or [the Northern Marianas Trades Institute] because I know people there or I can also go to work here and begin an entry-level position because I know people who work there.”

The camp, previously known as the Career Technical Education Summer Program, has hosted over 200 high school and middle school students over the past four years.

“We think it’s important to start them early so they have more chances to develop those relationships and those connections,” Taylor said.

According to Taylor and de Oro, this year’s program got off to a great start.

“They just had their introductions and their orientations and talked about schedules and what to expect… they may have also done a campus tour,” Taylor said. “I think it went well...the two teachers who are also chaperoning said that the kids were very excited.”

“I’m really happy that NMC partnered with us and they’re able to provide these mini-courses and these experiences for the kids,” she continued. “I also appreciate the support from TMS and that PSS continues to fund and support the program for our students — basically we’re just very thankful, and the kids are enjoying it!”

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