Summer Bridge Grads “Begin the Start of a Wonderful Journey”
Before attending Goodwin College’s Summer Bridge Academy and enrolling in a course on manufacturing, student Asa Strambler admitted to not knowing much about the discipline beyond how to use a screwdriver.
Six weeks later, Strambler stood before his fellow graduates in the Goodwin College Auditorium, describing what he saw as a great opportunity.
“This manufacturing program has given me the ability to visualize myself having a successful career,” said Strambler, who will enroll in the Goodwin College Manufacturing Program in the fall.
On Thursday, August 8, Strambler was one of 67 students to graduate from Goodwin’s Summer Bridge Academy. The program is designed to help recent high school graduates gain the skills they need to succeed at the next level, bridging the gap between high school and college.
For six weeks, the students took courses at Goodwin taught by College faculty, in subjects including music, interpersonal communication, math, English, and manufacturing. The program is offered free of charge to participants. The curriculum is demanding, but the students may earn transferable college credits to get a head start in higher education.
“The students before you certainly have a huge advantage entering the fall,” said Sandy Wirth, Goodwin College Dean of Students and Assistant Vice President, during the ceremony.
The majority of the Summer Bridge grads will enroll at Goodwin, where the number of courses available to them – as well as their responsibilities to keep up and achieve – will increase.
Tyesha Wood, Goodwin’s Transition and First Year Coordinator who organizes Summer Bridge, congratulated the students on their accomplishments and praised the mentors who volunteered for the program. Many of the mentors were past Summer Bridge graduates who see the importance of helping the next wave of students get acquainted with college.
“I salute this year’s mentors,” Wood said. “You guys were phenomenal and we couldn’t have done it without you.”
Some of the students and their instructors shared their experiences in Summer Bridge and how the program benefited them. Dahian Rodriguez, for example, read a tribute to English Instructor Tanya Morehead-Cooley, whom he credited with helping him to learn to better comprehend literature.
Meanwhile, instructors recognized the dedication of the students to complete the program. English instructor Lisa Rodriguez commended one of her students, Mynor Rosales, who broke his ankle a few weeks into the summer. Faced with surgery to repair the break, Rosales refused to drop out of Summer Bridge, instead having his parents go to Goodwin to get the work he would need to complete in order to keep pace with his classmates.
Tyrone Black, Goodwin’s Concurrent Enrollment Coordinator, gave the keynote address. Prior to speaking, he demonstrated the importance of personally connecting with people by going into the audience and shaking hands with each graduate, as well as a number of parents and other family members.
Black told the students that he was greatly moved by their strength and stories. He told them that it was up to the graduates to fulfill their purpose, keep perspective, respond well to pressure, and to provide proof that they finish what they started.
“Whatever you put out is what you receive back,” he said.
He continued by telling the grads that they would not face the next step alone, but rather with many people walking alongside them, helping them succeed.
“This is not the end of your story,” Black said. “This is the start of a wonderful journey.”