Students, mentors, teachers and directors ended the fifth year of Hudson Scholars with a feeling of accomplishment. The four-week program that offers academic instruction to rising sixth through ninth graders from the Public Schools of the Tarrytowns went virtual this summer and even though students couldn’t visit the Hackley campus where the program usually runs, Hudson Scholars transformed lives.
“Hudson Scholars focuses on developing new habits and mindsets that will help the scholars achieve success in the future,” said Program Director David Sykes. “We emphasize that students should always do their best work, know when to reach out for extra help, collaborate with others and find passions. We want the scholars to feel more confident, to achieve success in middle and high school, and to pursue and achieve their dreams.”
Lessons incorporated Google Classroom and other online tools such as FlipGrid, WeVideo, and Zoom with a focus on time management.
Fifty-five scholars met each day with mentors from Hackely’s Upper School and teachers where they attended classes in English and math and electives such as science, social studies, art and computer science to help prevent summer slide. This summer, the program took extra steps to ensure that students and mentors made real connections through ZOOM breakout sessions where mentors and scholars formed relationships.
“I believe the mentors have a huge role in the Hudson Scholars program because they act as both friends and teachers all in one,” said one mentor. “A mentor is someone that the scholars can look up to and learn from, but also with whom they can joke and have great conversations.”
One scholar described the group as a new family that pushed a student to find excellence. “Hudson Scholars, to me, means teamwork, working well with others, and striving to be the best you can be.”
This year, mentors also shared their special talents and interests with the younger students when they facilitated clubs each week that included math puzzles, reading and writing, movies, soccer, escape room, and crafts. Students went on virtual scavenger hunts and learned the art of origami.
Hudson Scholars provided each student with a kit filled with the basic supplies for the courses and scholars used Chromebooks supplied from the TUFSD and Hackley.
Each class culminated with a final project in the form of a speech, an essay or poem. The scholars said they found the classes enriching and challenging noting how the lessons taught them how to reach out of their comfort zone and prepare them for middle school, high school and beyond.
The Hudson Scholars Program is funded through Hackley School’s operating budget, supported by generous donations from individuals and a matching grant from the Edward E. Ford Foundation.