On Wednesday, Gill St. Bernard's welcomed 47 students in the New Jersey SEEDS Young Scholars program in fifth, sixth and seventh grades to campus for the day. Now in its 25th year, SEEDS (Scholars, Educators, Excellence, Dedication, Success) offers educational opportunities for highly-motivated students from low-income families, preparing them for entrance into independent middle schools, high schools and selective colleges. The Young Scholars spent the day previewing the school's STREAMS initiative
, which will launch in the Middle School this fall. Under the direction of Middle School science teachers Noreen Syed '10 and Montana Vasquez-Grinnell, STREAMS will bring together work in sustainability, technology, research, engineering, agriculture, math and service. In addition, the program will utilize the natural resources of Gill's 208-acre rural campus, complementing classroom work with place-based, experiential, learning. Syed
developed much of the STREAMS curriculum over the past academic year and will serve as the program's director; Vasquez-Grinnell is new to the school and incredibly enthusiastic about helping to inaugurate STREAMS.
Throughout the day, GSB faculty, staff members and recent graduates were on hand to provide a warm welcome, offer instruction and help facilitate the activities. In the garden, the visitors harvested vegetables and learned about gardening. At Home Winds, they had a chance to meet the animals and go on an interpretative nature hike. A makerspace challenge in the Scout Cabin honed the youngsters problem-solving skills. And of course, there was time to cool down, have some ice-cream and make new friends.
Director of Admission Sarah Rowland, who helped coordinate the visit, said "Pairing with the Young Scholars program was such a natural fit. SEEDS is dedicated to nurturing a love of learning and helping students develop critical thinking skills, self-confidence and a sense of responsibility—all essential aspects of a Gill education." She added, "Their visit also gave Gill teachers a chance to try out some lessons in advance of STREAMS and to share our beautiful campus. The day was absolutely a win-win and something I am sure we will want to do again in the future."
Gill has a longstanding relationship with SEEDS and is proud of the contributions that SEEDS scholars bring to the school community each year. The school has a number of SEEDS students enrolled in grades 7-12, and among this year's 85 graduates, three were SEEDS scholars: Carolyn Brand (Drew University), Ashley Maldonado (Boston College) and Sabrina Marques (Princeton University).