St. Jean's has wrapped up its annual University Bound (UB) summer program and it was one of the best ever! Established in 2004, UB is an elective three-week program that bridges the gap between 8th grade and high school through academic coursework and enrichment activities. It provides the opportunity for incoming 9th graders to build relationships with other students, faculty, and staff while growing and strengthening essential learning and communication skills. Participants become familiar with the school grounds, academic expectations, and campus resources.
Centered on a theme of food, wellness, and sustainability, our newest Jeanites studied how soil impacts plants and trees, learned ways that farmers increase crop yields, and discussed "food deserts" and the impact of agriculture on an environment. The program included field trips to urban farms throughout the city, where students helped to cultivate soil to create optimal growing conditions for herbs and vegetables. Participants also visited the Edible Academy at the New York Botanical Gardens; were hosted by the New York Department of Environmental Protection where they learned about the path of water from the Catskills to our homes; and enjoyed a docent-led tour of the Food in New York exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York.
Another important feature of the UB program is classroom work to prepare incoming students for the rigors of high school. This year's curriculum included science, with a focus on sustainability; English, with the task of writing persuasive letters to City Council members about a local topic of concern to each student; and art. Math and grammar labs rounded out the offerings. All program coursework aligns with New York State curriculum guidelines. SJB capped off the program with a visit from alumna Kayla Vdokakes ‘18, a chef at Flik Hospitality Group who worked with the girls to create tasty, healthful, farm-to-table drinks and salads using fresh produce.
A St. Jean’s education puts a young woman on the college track from day one and UB is the first step of the journey for many of our students. Special thanks to Mrs. Eleanor K. Fahey '54 and Dr. Thomas Fahey who helped to make this possible through their generous support of our science labs and curriculum.