Summer Academic Challenge was fully in-person in 2022 following two years of virtual and hybrid programs! We introduced two new curricular themes - Hot Mic: Climate Science Communication, and Coding and Highlights on Activism in the Puget Sound. The opening and closing ceremonies were in person again this year, as was the Bar-B-Que. Returning students were excited to be back on campus full time, citing the science labs and field trips as their favorite parts of the program. In their post program survey, 100% of parents rated themselves as satisfied or very satisfied with the program overall and cited the return to a fully in-person experience as the highlight.
One parent shared this moving letter with describing her child's SAC experience:
My son is profoundly obsessed with technology, science, and math. He is also autistic, and struggles with social anxiety. I had the pleasure of watching my son from his very first day two years ago, being welcomed openly and enthusiastically into the program, and into the family of SAC. At the end of last summer’s session, my son had gained a considerable amount of self-confidence, made special connections with both students and counselors, and was deeply inspired by being surrounded with like-minded individuals, passionate about their education, learning, and STEM in general.
The immeasurable gifts he walked away from directly affected his junior year of high school. He joined clubs, began engaging with students he felt he had things in common with. He ran for and was elected for a leadership role in the STEAM club. His involvement within the community grew, teaching elementary students computer programming. It was like watching a flower that had been deprived of sunshine and water re-planted into a garden where he started to thrive, and grow.
He was so excited to learn he was selected again to participate in this year’s SAC program. This time, he hit the ground running, engaging with peers, and strove to be an eager and active participant from day one. SAC is where my son felt safe and encouraged to be himself, engage with subject matter he is passionate about at full-throttle, and go beyond collaborating with other students... For the first time in his academic years, my son came home on the last day of this year’s session and shared something quite remarkable with me. He told me that he made friends. While to some, that may not seem related to what SAC is here for, to my son, that was a profound and life changing gift.
As a family, we are eternally grateful for every moment my son has had the opportunity to learn, grow, and bloom thanks to the experiences he has had with SAC. It was just the right catalyst he needed to experience life in a whole new way.