For many students across the globe, summertime means a welcome change in routine. Some students search for new ways to quench their thirst for knowledge and new experiences, like the 763 motivated students who have registered for the 100th year of Exeter Summer. The Academy’s campus is abuzz with anticipation and excitement as students roll into Exeter from 51 countries and 39 states. The 362 Access Exeter students and 401 Upper School students bring the campus pathways, quads and dormitories to life following the mellow month since members of the class of 2018 received their diplomas.
With centennial celebrations in store, it’s no surprise that Exeter Summer is the longest operating summer education experience in the nation. In the inaugural summer session of 1919, 65 boys hailing from 13 states and Mexico enrolled as students and the curriculum featured five levels of Latin. One-hundred years later, Exeter Summer has seen many historic changes in it programing from offering admission to girls in 1961, to offering classes in computer science in the 1960s and psychology in the 1980s, to offering an array of over 100 innovative courses in the catalog today. New programming for the 100th summer includes a songwriting and production class, an African-American studies class and an Elite Volleyball sports program, among others. Students also can look forward to popular courses in clothing design, college essay writing, mindfulness and cryptography. Elena Gosalvez-Blanco, a modern languages instructor and Exeter Summer Director, says that the evolution of the innovative program offerings reflects the fact that Exeter Summer “is constantly adapting to the changing needs of teenagers.”
The summer program at Exeter is the only academic enrichment program that is fully committed to the idea behind Harkness and learning how to do it. Gosalvez-Blanco explains that the pass/fail ideology at Exeter Summer creates an environment where students are driven by a desire to learn, not grades. “The fact we do Harkness [with] such completely diverse kids around our tables and no pressure from grades means we have the best kind of Harkness, a love of learning Harkness!”
Exeter Summer truly is a diverse community, with 763 kids and 200 adults coming together for five intense weeks of learning and living together. Gosalvez-Blanco speaks to the diversity and opportunities for long-lasting friendships, “We all want to be together, so it feels like a huge family reunion of people that never met before and will cry when they have to leave!”
The purpose behind Exeter Summer is not only to offer a taste of the Academy’s rich education, but also a flavor of campus life. The opportunity to learn and grow alongside students from diverse backgrounds inside and outside of the classroom is what makes Exeter Summer special. It’s about sharing and learning about different cultures, countries and religions through the friends you make. “It takes a lot of work to not make assumptions about others… but it will be very rewarding to actually get to know someone so different,” Gosalvez-Blanco advises students. “Be vulnerable, be open minded!” Here at Exeter, summertime means so much more than simply going to classes and required appointments; it means grabbing a beach towel and laying out on South Quad to soak up sunshine with your friends, stargazing at the stadium on those warm July nights and scoring points in Kan Jam and Spikeball on the library lawn. The centennial session of Exeter Summer is sure to become five weeks you’ll remember long after you pack up your flip flops and lanyard on August 3rd.