Summer Scholars Get a Jump on College

Dr. Chris Hoeckley address Summer Scholar graduates in 2013

Dr. Chris Hoeckley address Summer Scholar graduates in 2013

About 30 high school students completed three weeks of intensive classes with professors Carmel Saad and Christian Hoeckley as part of Westmont Summer Scholars. In its fourth year, the program offers students an opportunity to experience a Christian liberal arts education at Westmont before they start college.

The students, from eight different states, including Iowa, Minnesota, Montana and Colorado, enrolled in one of two courses, General Psychology with Saad or Philosophical Perspectives on Truth and Value with Hoeckley.

Dr. Chris Hoeckley taught Philosophical Perspectives on Truth and Value to Summer Scholars

Dr. Chris Hoeckley taught Philosophical Perspectives on Truth and Value to Summer Scholars

The seven high school graduates have committed to attend Westmont in the fall, while the remainder will return to finish their final year of high school with Westmont as a top choice for 2015.

The students earned college credits and also enjoyed extra-curricular activities, such as sailing the Santa Barbara coast and visiting the Getty Museum and Griffith Park, where they enjoyed a theatrical production of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night.”

Dr. Carmel Saad speaks at the Summer Scholar graduation

Dr. Carmel Saad speaks at the Summer Scholar graduation

“On the whole, this group was incredibly capable academically and possessed an even greater eagerness for learning,” says Hoeckley, professor of philosophy and director of Gaede Institute for Liberal Arts. “They were remarkably good to one another, forming a close-knit community in which everyone felt supported.”

“One of things that we do so well at Westmont is get the students in close proximity to the faculty,” President Gayle D. Beebe said at the July 3 graduation. “The greatest joy in life and the greatest understanding of life comes as we begin to invest our lives in other people.”

“Knowing I can succeed gives me confidence for college,” says Alison Judy, a high school senior from Denver. “I loved the interactive, seminar-style learning. This was the deciding factor for me. I said yes to Westmont.”

“I learned to find my identity, make better choices and develop trust,” says Caanan Gassmann, a high school senior from Winterset, Iowa. “I’m now excited for college.”

“Summer Scholars really eased some nerves I had about moving to a new campus with new people,” says Kendall Songer, from La Habra who is attending Westmont in the fall. “I feel much more prepared for a college class, and I grew closer to God even in just three weeks.”