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NMH Summer Session Enriches Students’ Lives

Aug. 11, 2022 — Catey Salls ’26 wanted to work on improving her math skills before starting NMH as a 9th-grader this fall, so she signed up to take Algebra I during NMH Summer Session, the school’s academic summer program. She decided to take an astronomy class, too.

Salls spent five weeks living and learning — and playing — on the NMH campus. She enjoyed working out equations on white boards in the Gilder Center with veteran NMH math teacher Jim Vollinger and gazing through telescopes to learn about stars and planets at the campus’s hilltop observatory. When classes were over, lots of fun activities kept her busy. There were trips to the nearby ice cream stand and local lakes. There were movie nights and games on campus. Salls even tried something she’s never had the chance to do before: whitewater rafting.

“I learned about myself and that I’m confident,” Salls said of her Summer Session experience. “I’m feeling a lot more ready for school. I made friends who are also going to NMH so it will be nice to see familiar faces when school starts.”

NMH Summer Session returned to in-person learning on campus this summer with instruction, activities, and sports for boarding and day students in three- and five-week sessions. Summer Session offers a range of academic courses for credit, enrichment, and test preparation. Online options were offered for students who chose to participate remotely.

This summer, the program, now in its 62nd year, welcomed 122 students from 22 countries and 19 states to campus. “Summer work here has actually been happening for the past 123 years, but in 1960 we opened our doors to the outside world to join us for summer academic work,” said Summer Session Director Greg Leeds.

NMH Summer Session students in class in the Gilder Center.

Summer Session student Sofiia Tiapkina ’24, who will start her second year at NMH this fall, was looking for the chance to dig deeper into world religions and contemporary issues. She worked with NMH religious studies and philosophy teacher Jennifer Keator to develop an independent study component to a Summer Session course in world religion.

“My teacher gave me a lot of freedom and the option to form my own assignments and complete them at the pace I wanted,” Tiapkina said. With Keator’s guidance, Tiapkina completed a 10-page research paper on Confucion teachings and behavioral health in modern China, studied Sikhism, and compared aspects of Daoism and Confucianism. 

Tiapkina also took painting and drawing during Summer Session. “[It was] very, very fun!” she said. “I produced some art that I feel helped me on my artistic journey.” She plans to take Advanced 2D Portfolio art class this year at NMH and is interested in trying plein air painting as a cocurricular activity.

Tiapkina, who is from Ukraine, highly recommends NMH Summer Session. “It’s a way to get ahead for your classes during the school year if that’s something you want, but also in those concentrated five weeks, or sometimes three weeks, you form really great friendships from people all over the world,” she said. “My Summer Session roommate is from Greece and we’re staying in touch, and I’m excited to stay in touch with a lot of the people I connected with.”

See photos of NMH Summer Session.