The most important thing about the Academy, a summer enrichment program for underrepresented students, is the fact that it is free, according to Joy Moore, executive director of the Pine Manor Institute for Student Success initiative.
“It’s about going beyond our own sort of universe here at BC and extending resources and support to our neighbors,” Moore said. “That’s something that BC has always done, but I think the Pine Manor Institute now is really a showcase for how that can be done in a really impactful way.”
Boston College hosted its inaugural Academy class of 43 students over the summer, Moore said, and hopes to continue extending its reach in the Greater Boston area.
“Our partner schools come from a variety of areas within and around Boston,” Moore said. “We have students who come from Roxbury, Dorchester, Mattapan, Hyde Park, and Brighton. We also had students from Lawrence and Springfield.”
Moore said there are two prongs of the Academy: the summer program for students from eighth to 12th grade and a BC “success coach,” who follows up with students during middle and high school to help them prepare for their career or educational goals.
Students are invited to the program through partner schools in the Greater Boston area and nominated by their principals, teachers, or counselors.
“The students had to be first-generation or students from underserved and underrepresented communities,” Moore said. “They didn’t have to be the smartest student in the class. Although it’s great to have smart students, a program like this really benefits those students who could use that little extra nudge.”
Several BC departments—including Residential Life, Dining Services, Athletics, and more—contributed to planning and facilitating the program’s first summer, according to Carly Anderson, director of the Pine Manor Institute.
Participants were greeted with a personal welcome from University President Rev. William P. Leahy, S.J., tours of campus, and free gift certificates to the BC bookstore on the first day of the program, Moore said.
According to Moore, one of the Academy’s goals is to help foster core values for each grade level that participates. For example, its 12th-grade participants will focus on values such as transition, responsibility, and self-discipline.
Incoming eighth graders stayed at Williams Hall and participated in a range of activities, Moore said, including classes followed by group activities like games, journaling, and reflection.
“The week’s material drew upon themes from the Shakespearean play Much Ado About Nothing, and the program culminated in a trip to see the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company’s production performed on the Boston Common at the end of the week,” Anderson said.
According to Anderson, students also received hands-on learning opportunities through the Hatchery, BC’s makerspace in 245 Beacon.
“The Academy’s largest collaboration for Summer 2022 was with the Hatchery,” Anderson said. “Their team provided supplies, workshop space, training, staff, and instruction for students for a 3d printing and chocolate mold project.”
While Moore said it is possible the program will extend to out-of-state students in the future, BC plans to continue focusing on helping local, underserved communities for the time being.
“[The Academy] can really grow in all directions,” Moore said. “Right now, we’re really committed to supporting and offering resources locally.”