“How I spent my summer vacation,” is one of the most popular essay topics for students at the beginning of a school year. On Jan. 10, Hewlett High School hosted a summer opportunities fair in its gymnasium — the perfect opportunity for students to learn how spend their summer doing something worth writing about.
Organized by the guidance department and the Hewlett-Woodmere Public Schools Scholarship Fund, the fair had 34 different vendors offering summer employment options, community service opportunities, pre-college summer courses and travel programs. The school district allowed employment companies and community service organizations to set up their tables free of charge, but for-profit companies such as Putney Student Travel were charged a fee. According to Mary Harrison, Hewlett High guidance chairwoman, $5,000 was for the scholarship fund through the event.
This is the second time that Hewlett has hosted the event, the first time was four years ago. Harrison said she’d like to be able to do it every roughly three years. “There really is something for everyone, which is nice,” Harrison said. “We want to raise an awareness of what’s out there. Instead of just staying home all summer or going to a local camp, it can open up their eyes to all these opportunities all over the world.”
In addition to the local beach clubs, the Hewlett-Woodmere Business Association and Hofstra University and UMass Amherst, there were organizations that offer students the opportunity to explore the world. The New York Times had a table for its student journeys program, as did National Geographic for its student expedition program and Sail Caribbean, a teen adventure camp that focuses on sailing, scuba diving and community service.
Students from the East Rockaway, Lawrence, Lynbrook, Oceanside and Rockville Centre school districts were also invited to attend. However it appeared through the apparel worn, the host school outnumbered any guests.
Hewlett High freshman, Bilaal Sadiq, said he was pleasantly surprised with what he found at the event. “I thought this would be more like a lecture,” he said. “I like this more though. This is more hands on, you can decide what you’re interested in and let them make the case.”
Students, often with their parents walked from table to table discussing all the different opportunities. Emmanuel Clarke, a Hewlett senior said: “ I wasn’t really looking for anything in particular. I didn’t know 100 percent what to expect, just wanted to and come look around see if anything piques my interest.”
Even students who came with a goal in mind, such as Hewlett junior Kayla Azinge, could find intriguing programs. “I knew there’d be summer jobs, I’m looking for something to do with my summer,” she said, adding that she’s interested in music, and while she hadn’t found anything yet, “I did find an ACT prep place that sounds promising.”