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Bridges Announces Summer Program and Newest Class

The 2019 Bridges class.

The Bridges to a Brighter Future 2020 summer program will have a very different look due to COVID-29 pandemic.

Instead of the traditional four-week residential program on Furman University’s campus, students will experience academic classes, leadership activities, creative electives, college planning, community service and self-exploration from their homes. For a program that centers on connections and creating family among strangers, it will be an adjustment switching into a mode of ZOOM classes, virtual panels and small-group discussions.

Bridges to a Brighter Future is a nationally recognized, award-winning program for Greenville County high school students who have the potential to go to college but have significant financial, personal and cultural barriers, which often result in high school dropout and/or unrealized college enrollment. Much of the program’s success is because of the strong, established partnerships with community organizations and educational foundations, says Bridges director Carrie Silver.

To qualify for the program, students must come from high-poverty homes in Greenville County, have experienced some form of major obstacles to success, have a 3.0 GPA and a clean discipline record. Teachers and counselors nominate students, who then apply and interview for the competitive program. Each year, Bridges selects a new class of 25 rising sophomores to join the returning 50 rising juniors and seniors for its year-round program focusing on college access and personal development.

Each student will receive a package of supplies for use during the four-week virtual program, set for June 22 to July 17. Several key elements of the program have been converted to an online platform, namely the use of certified Greenville County teachers leading core academic classes, college planning classes taught by Bridges staff, electives taught by local experts and the use of college students as mentors.

“We’ve put a lot of thought and effort into shaping a virtual experience that lives up to our high standards while trying to avoid online learning fatigue,” Silver says. “After weeks of homeschooling and social isolation, our students need this opportunity to connect with their Bridges family and stay focused on their futures.”

To keep students’ attention online, Bridges plans all classes under an hour, hands-on and relevant curricula, social time and evening game nights. There will also be family-focused events so parents and siblings can participate.

The summer program is followed by gatherings one Saturday a month during the school year, in addition to one-on-one counseling for each student. Once students graduate from high school, Bridges continues the support on their college campus. In all, the program supports students for seven years, with a to-and-through-college model.

For more information, contact Silver at carrie.silver@furman.edu or 864-294-3135.

The newest Bridges class of rising sophomores includes:

Julio Esteban Berea High School
Clarice Gonzalez-Mendoza Berea High School
Isaiah Corthell Blue Ridge High School
Anjali Lada Brashier Middle College Charter High
Dominick Cipully Carolina High School
Jennifer Perez Carolina High School
Natalie Bryant Eastside High School
Shakyriah Benson Greenville Early College
Shanya Hunn Greenville Early College
Aquon Chapman Greenville Senior High School
Sara Villegas Greenville Technical Charter High
Dalton Carroll Greer High School
Rayni Distefano Hillcrest High School
Francisco Perez-Vazquez Hillcrest High school
NyTrell Valentine J.L. Mann High School
April O’Neal J.L. Mann High School
Yadhira Antonio-Martinez Legacy Early College High School
Irving Oliver Legacy Early College High School
Hannah-Mary Alegria Mauldin High School
Journe Kelly- Bowens Southside High School
Kashia Stewart Travelers Rest High School
Ashley Marroquin-Gonzalez Wade Hampton High School
Sean Smith Woodmont High School
Seth Smith Woodmont High School
Timber Edmonds Woodmont High School

 

Last updated June 24, 2020
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Clinton Colmenares
News & Media Relations Director