Although students are not on campus, the summer months are far from inactive at The Hill. For many years, The Hill hosted a summer school that allowed students the opportunity to see campus, experience boarding school life, and take extra courses. After the summer school was discontinued, the School continued to host a variety of summer camps, ranging from sports camps to subject-specific academic sessions. In the summer of 2012, a new academic group made The Hill its summer home: New Jersey SEEDS.
SEEDS, which is an acronym for “Scholars, Educators, Excellence, Dedication, Success,” was founded in 1992 and is only open to New Jersey students. As a whole, SEEDS consists of three programs: Young Scholars, which is open to rising fifth and sixth grade students seeking placement at independent day and junior boarding schools; Scholars, which is a 14-month program beginning the summer before eighth grade that places students in independent high schools in ninth grade; and the College Preparatory Program, which prepares high school students for college placement.
The Hill hosted two components of the Scholars Program during the past two summers. For many students, the first phase of SEEDS represents their first experience with rigorous independent school courses.
“The summer session can be eye-opening for many students,” said Marcy Lopez, the SEEDS Dean of Programs. “They all are academically gifted, but for many of them it is their first time being surrounded by other highly motivated students.”
The program generates applications by holding information sessions and presentations throughout selected communities. The application is free, and there is never a shortage of them; last year, nearly 700 students applied for SEEDS enrollment. Applicants must submit a transcript, their grades, and teacher recommendations. Selection is very competitive – only 125 students are accepted into the first phase of the Scholars Program each year, which is called The Summer Challenge Program. It’s a three-week summer session at Hill. Acceptance into the first phase does not guarantee that one will finish the entire program – only 95 students are invited to continue in the second phase, based on their first session performance. Upon completion of the Summer Challenge Program, students take Saturday classes throughout their eighth grade year while also completing the private school admission process. The final phase – The Capstone Experience – is a second, three-week session taking place at The Hill the summer following eighth grade.
On Saturday, August 3, an article about SEEDS
appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer
. The article, written by Martha Woodall, mentions The Hill and includes quotes from Brandon Jacobs '07, a SEEDS alumnus who will be returning to The Hill this fall as an Assistant Director of College Advising, and Tom Eccleston '87, Assistant Headmaster for Enrollment Management.