“The thing I love about the classes at Bridges..."
It’s school, but it’s not. It’s classes, and teachers, and learning objectives, but it’s not like anything Bridges students experience during the school year.
Teachers at Bridges Foundations, the summer component of Bridges to a Brighter Future, make learning come to life. Everything is hands-on and student-driven. Rather than grades, students are motivated by curiosity and challenge—and by the genuine enthusiasm of their teachers.
Bridges hires certified teachers to teach math, science and humanities to high school students from across Greenville County whose potential outdistances their circumstances. These are some of the best teachers in our County, who forego a summer of leisure to inspire students as they strive for more.
“The teachers are not just your teachers, they’re like family,” said rising Wade Hampton High School senior Sofia Rodriguez. “They treat you with respect and love you, as they would their own child. This is one of the reasons I love Bridges.”
This summer, math came alive when students used critical thinking to construct mathematical models. By the end of the class, students built structures out of newsprint that could hold up multiple textbooks, boats out of paper and tape that could carry weight on water, and replica bleachers out of popsicle sticks to test proportional relationships and trigonometry.
In science, students learned how to be better stewards of the environment by investigating the causes and impacts of water pollution and methods to conserve clean water. They began close to home by analyzing water scooped out of the Furman lake, ultimately applying those same tests (like pH, turbidity, dissolved oxygen, nitrate, phosphate, and coloform) to samples from across the county. Based on these tests, they were able to deduce the region from which each sample was taken.
And, even students who say they don’t like to read found a new appreciation for the written word in humanities. They gained an understanding for how reading makes the world a better place by building empathy in every person who takes the time to dive into a good book. Students were also challenged to contemplate how their authentic selves compare to the people society expects them to be, using Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Self Reliance as an anchor text.
“The thing I love about the classes at Bridges is that we do things we regularly wouldn’t do in a traditional classroom. It makes us engage more with the class and the topic,” added rising Greenville High School senior Guillermo Ojeda. “I also love the bond we create with the teachers and how they try their best to teach everyone to how they learn best.”
The main goal of these classes is to keep learning alive throughout the summer, but beyond that, these classes are carefully designed to encourage students to see content in new ways. The curriculum of each class includes challenges that build comprehension but also academic confidence. And the classes are connected to other elements of the program that expose students to possible college and career choices that they may have never explored before, like workshops, guest panels, field trips, and college planning.