By Trine Gallegos
Contra Costa Times
ANTIOCH -- There wasn't any swimming or bonfires, but a summer camp aimed at bolstering math abilities still added up to an adventurous time.
The summer math and college readiness academy, held at Antioch High School earlier this month under the instruction of teacher Lindsay Wisely, helped 70 incoming freshmen hone their algebra skills.
In addition, Wisely said the 4-week program created "a college-going culture through workshops and field trips."
The students visited Cal State East Bay. They also participated in college workshops in the school's computer lab with counselor Violeta Orozco. Also on the table were parent workshops, a back-to-school night and even a graduation.
Meeting 16 hours each week, the group was treated to a daily motivational speaker, clinics and lunch.
In its sixth year, the program was originally designed as a coordinated effort between Antioch High and the University of California system. Student applications and personal statements are screened, and then individuals are selected for the month-long program.
Wisely said Blas Guerrero, founder of this math academy, has been an "amazing mentor, who spoke to the students about the obstacles in his own life and how he worked toward a doctorate degree." Guerrero, a college professor, also helped coordinate many of the events.
She said it was most gratifying to see how engaged the students were.
"They really wanted to be there, really believed that the support they received will help them pass algebra as freshmen, which ultimately will put them on a path to meeting college admissions requirements," Wisely said.
The program's director liked that students bought into success and that "it was a parent involvement course.
"Families had many opportunities to come together. The collaboration between students, their families and staff helped to make a cohesive and productive learning environment."
She enjoyed many aspects of the summer blast, especially the college field trips.
"(I loved) showing the students what college is like and seeing their faces light up. I loved to see how engaged they were. That's when being an educator is so exciting, seeing students having fun and loving to learn."