October 15, 2019

Since 2007, education majors at Susquehanna have spent summers working with elementary students at Selinsgrove Area School District’s Summer Seals Day Camp.

Summer Seals is a six-week summer learning program in which third, fourth and fifth grade students receive hands-on, interactive assistance in reading, math and interpersonal/social development skills with the help of teachers and SU students.

Senior Jenna Clark, of Selinsgrove, participated in the program this year, along with seniors Megan Becker, of Mifflinburg, and Makyla Seeger, of Richfield, and junior Madison Rice, of Selinsgrove.

Clark, an early childhood education major, says the experience helped her prepare for becoming a teacher herself.

“Summer Seals provided me with the opportunity to essentially have my own classroom, create and carry out lesson plans, and establish my own classroom management style prior to graduating with my degree,” she says. “Because of this, I will feel comfortable and confident in the classroom when I begin my student teaching. That experience is priceless.”

SU students who participate in the program are recruited from the university’s secondary, early childhood and music education majors. Typically, three to four new staff members are hired each spring for a two-year commitment. Students serve as a junior teacher their first year, and a lead teacher the following year.

“Seeing where the kids are on their first day of Summer Seals compared to where they are when they leave is incredible. Not only does the camp help students progress academically, but it provides an environment that nurtures social and emotional growth, as well,” Clark reflected. “Being able to watch that growth, let alone be a part of it, is something that is truly life-changing.”