Did you know that we are one month and a day shy from the first day of school at AISD? It’s bittersweet for us. On one hand, we have been having so much fun with our summer students, but on the other, we are excited to resume our semester programs!
Chris Lopez and Crystaline Lopez (meet them and the rest of our team here) worked tirelessly to extend LaunchPad’s mission and purpose beyond the school year and into the summer months.
For three weeks in June and July, they coordinated our summer program five days per week and six hours per day.
Reading Camp took place every day, a designated hour where students read and summarized their books into notebook their journals. At the end of each hour, three students were selected to read aloud their summaries.
Sports and fitness came next: twenty minutes of stretching and basic exercise routines, one hour of an organized sport and thirty minutes of open recreation.
Jasmin Hale, a student at UTSA and a semi-pro basketball player, also helped with the summer program. During the program, she taught a basketball class and lectured on the value of hard work and discipline.
After lunch–most breakfast and lunch meals were provided by AISD–students enjoyed movie time and three LaunchPad programs.
Phoenix Aviation taught the students “How To Fly A Plane.” As part of LaunchPad’s aviation STEM program, they introduced the basics of aerodynamics and geography, and even brought in flight simulators. Find out more about their program here.
On days where movie times and aviation presentations were not scheduled, Dream Initiative took over.
Dream Initiative was Crystaline’s creative approach of teaching students to dream big for their futures, set goals and establish core values. Even further, she inspired a broader scheme of thinking.
In Dream Initiative, discussions centered around world peace, world hunger, environmental concerns and spreading love. Groups produced songs, poems and final projects in poster form- see them in the first minute of the video recap below.
Crystaline also incorporated jewelry-making and teachings on communication etiquette into the summer curriculum.
Finally, LaunchPad Vision For Your Future encouraged students with lessons such as “Hope,” “Born Original,” “Vision” and “Diligence.”
During the last week of the summer program, LaunchPad coordinators took students on field trips to various sites around Austin.
“Field trip week was my favorite because I got to spend some good quality time taking these kids to places they have never seen in Austin before,” said Chris Lopez, LP program coordinator.
This summer, the students visited the following:
- Texas Capitol
- Bob Bullock Museum
- IMAX “Star of Destiny” (Educational movie on Texas history)
- Texas Natural Science Museum
- Northwest Austin Pool
- Glimmer of Hope Team Building & Leadership Camp in Lake Travis. (Two days of hiking, water games, tennis, basketball, STEM lessons, snow cones, soccer and team building activities.)
As a way to conclude summer success at LaunchPad, the Contreras family kindly opened their home to reward faithful students who demonstrated good behavior and progress during the year.
“It is also our way as founders to expose them to an environment they would not normally see-to show them that with education, hard work and perseverance in life, anything is possible,” said Rebecca Contreras, founder of LaunchPad The Center. ”We get to spend one-on-one quality time as our family with them, BBQ and pool party. It is a ‘Contreras family’ and LP team affair.”
Here’s a photo recap of all the summer festivities.
All of our summer success would not be possible without the blood, sweat, tears (Ok, maybe just sweat…Texas summers are brutal, y’all.) and incredible dedication of Chris Lopez, Crystaline Lopez, David Contreras and Rebecca Contreras. And of course, thank you to all of our sponsors, partners, parents, employees, volunteers and supporters.
UPDATED: July 25, 2013 10:30 p.m.
By Megan Martinez @megmikmartinez | email@example.com