Friday, August 3, 2012

UVI’s Summer Bridge Transforms Students

Participants of the UVI Summer Bridge Program at the July 25 closing ceremony on St. Thomas.

UVI’s Summer Bridge Program was started a year ago to provide new high school graduates with the literary, mathematical and critical thinking skills required for a seamless transition into college courses in order to ensure their success. This year’s participants said that they were transformed by the experience.  

“We will not be coming back home the same,” said Rasheed Escobar who participated in the program on the Albert A. Sheen Campus on St. Croix. He likened the students’ experience to being coated with fresh paint. Just like sponges, he said, the students absorbed the information presented to them by their professors and are ready to begin their college education. “We plan to make you proud of our success,” Escobar said in his remarks at the July 25 joint closing ceremony.

Zola Roper said she joined the program hoping to improve her skills in writing and especially mathematics, but the five-week residential program required her to be responsible for other things such as managing her time and making decisions independently.

“I am no longer a child,” Roper said. “I am experiencing a transition into adulthood.” Roper said that in addition to improving her academic skills, she was also exposed to a diverse group of people and made new friends.

“The (Summer) Bridge Program is one of the best experiences that I’ve had in all my summers,” Roper said. “I’ll be going into my freshman year at UVI fully equipped for what is waiting for me.” Roper and Escobar were two of the 108 students to participate in the program – 56 on St. Thomas and 52 on St. Croix.

“I just want to personally tell each one of you just how proud I am of your achievement this summer,” said UVI President Dr. David Hall. He called UVI’s creation of the program an investment by UVI in the students’ futures and the students’ participation an investment in themselves. Dr. Hall said sometimes students don’t have the necessary tools to excel, and promised that UVI will “give you a roadmap for success.”

“I will enjoy being your president. I hope all of you come to UVI and I hope all of you work with me to take us to a place of greatness,” Dr. Hall said.

Summer Bridge Director Dr. Haldane Davies encouraged the students to continue seeking education, strive for economic empowerment, take care of their health, seek international exposure and hold on to hope.  
The ceremony also included poster board displays of research projects conducted by the students. Students took classes in mathematics, critical reading, writing and college success. They also participated in field trips. It is the second year the program was held.