2021 HW Summer Camps Review

As our 2021 school year comes to a close and it seems as though we are finally getting out of quarantine, many different summer camps will be opening up to fill the three months that we are away, more specifically, Harvard-Westlake (HW) summer camps. HW offers multiple classes in all sorts of subjects such as art, STEM, sports, entrepreneurship, world language, English, performing arts and debate/public speaking. Now is the perfect time to look into these options for your own summer plans.

HW Summer offers classes to HW students, incoming HW students and students from other schools in the area. The program follows a three period schedule similar to our in-school school day. You can choose from multiple classes based on each subject to take during the first, second and third period separately, but you don’t have to choose a class for each one. A few classes stand independently of the class-period system and occur during their own week, with each class lasting around an hour and forty-five minutes.

Visual Arts

HW Summer offers numerous opportunities for students interested in visual arts. The visual arts classes offered by HW Summer are a great way to get ahead in visual arts next year, but also just to pursue a passion. HW Summer offers art classes from drawing and painting to pottery.

Mixed Media Madness, taught by Sar Shahar, is a generalized drawing and painting class which takes place during period one and two of the schedule. Mixed Media Madness doesn’t have a main focus, and your only goal is to create art you’re proud of. The Mixed Media Madness curriculum is very student based. From painting shoes, to drawing online, you can learn to draw and paint on different surfaces and with different tools.

Two other classes, Digital Photography and Digital Arts/graphic Design, both of which are taught by Giovanna Pizzoferrato, are exactly as they sound. Both classes are offered as part of the summer schedule and focus on the use of online tools to enhance your art. In Digital Arts/Graphic Design you will learn to utilize digital tools in order to make art and tell stories through art. The skills you learn in Digital Arts/Graphic Design can be utilized in web design, posters, advertisements, and other forms of media. In Digital Photography you will learn to take modern photos, recreate classic photos, but also what you can do with just your phone. The curriculum focuses on the basics of good photography using Digital Darkroom special fx.

Taught by Gustavo Gudoy, Plates, Pots and Possibilities is a pottery focused class that will teach you to shape clay on and off the wheel into bowls, cups, plates, mugs and other ceramics. Not only this, but you will also learn to glaze, trim, stain and paint your ceramics so that you can use them at home. Plate, Pots and Possibilities is also one of the only classes that is offered during all three periods in the schedule.

STEM

HW Summer also offers a large amount of specific STEM (Science, technology, engineering and math) classes with the hope that middle school students will pursue passion in STEM through the program. And although there are classes for those who are looking to get ahead in math, there are also specified curriculums for those who want to dive deeper into one aspect of STEM.

One of these specified classes is called Boil, Fizz, Pop, which is taught by Leslie Wang, and focuses on aspects of chemistry and cooking through food! You will learn how food is created using science and what sort of practices go into making the food you eat everyday with hands-on activities.

Three courses taught by Dan Reeves, Computer Programming and Fun with Arduinos, Math Gems and Take Control – LEGO Robotics, are amazing classes that focus on math, computer science and engineering. In Computer Programming and Fun with Arduinos, you will create apps using a simple coding website called Scratch. In Math Gems, through hands-on activities and fun word problems, you will learn how math can be applied to real life and how to use it to make decisions. And in LEGO Robotics, you will learn how to create robots that will be able to avoid obstacles and navigate their surroundings by itself using sensors.

Another STEM class, Tripp Reed, is an extensive three session course that is independent of the summer schedule. If you’re interested in robotics and building machines, consider taking Vex Robots, a course independent of the class-period system that goes deep into the inner-workings of robotics and machines. By the end of the week, you will have built a complete and working robot!

Sports and Entrepreneurship

Although the selection of sports and entrepreneurship classes is fairly small, both courses offer an enriching experience of both subjects. And if you’re looking for something more specific, the upper school also offers numerous summer camps based in each sport and another entrepreneurship class called HW INC, that will teach you to build your own business.

HW Summer offers a generalized sports course that covers everything from ultimate frisbee to soccer, called Action Sports. Led by Freddy Arroyo, Action Sports is an athletically based one week session that will help you develop athletic ability and use teamwork.

If you’re interested in leadership, creative problem-solving, inventing, and management, Lemonade Stand, HW Summer’s entrepreneurial class, will offer you just that. Learn to build companies, lead big projects, solve problems creatively and manage finances through fun hands-on activities.

World Language

HW Summer offers two classes based in World Language, Fun with Chinese and Around the World in 14 Days, both of which are amazing ways to experience the culture, food, and language in other countries.

Looking to get ahead in Chinese next year? Consider signing up for Fun with Chinese, which is taught by Shuang Yang and will teach you the basics of the Chinese language through games and conversation. Through the course of two weeks, you will learn to listen, understand and speak Chinese,and by the end of the course, you will be able to recognize symbols and speak the basics of the language.

If you love to travel, learn about new cultures, try new foods, and learn languages, Around the World in 14 Days is the perfect course for you! In this course curriculum, you will learn about Spanish, Italian, Portugese and Brazilian culture by understanding their languages, making their food, and learning about their culture.

English and Literature

Whereas some of the other subjects may have slightly a smaller selection of courses, English and Literature have some of the most diverse and specific course curriculums that pertain to your specific interests, from studying superheroes and fictional characters to journalism.

Interested in drawing and storytelling? Create Your Own Comic is for you! Create Your Own Comic will focus on creating a fun storyline, illustrating your characters, scripting your stories, layouts, and story-boarding. By the end of this course, you will have created your own comic.

Two classes taught by Jeff Corbet, DC versus Marvel and Superheroes-Supervillains-Super Cool, focus on the origin stories of superheroes and what makes them so special. In DC versus Marvel, you will learn about how superheroes from both DC and Marvel were created and what inspired their origin. In Superheroes-Supervillains-Super Cool you can enjoy watching clips of these superheroes to discover their past while eating popcorn!

Similar to the previous classes, Wizard Worlds, Galactic Empires and Fourth Dimensions, taught by Robin Frates, is a fun course that goes deeper into the storylines of movies such as Harry Potter, Star Wars and Disney. Using your knowledge of these stories, at the end of the course, you will create your own fantasy story with your own characters and fantasy world. Journalism and Your Story Starts Here are also taught by Robin Frates, and focus on enhancing your writing skills and storytelling abilities. Your Story Starts here is an extensive creative writing course that will teach you to worldbuild, create characters, and make a storyline.

Journalism is one of the classes that I can speak for personally. Throughout a two week time period, you will learn how to build an article, conduct an interview and research topics. By the end of the course, you will have learned how to structure an article, craft an article, photojournal, create editorials and conduct interviews. Not only that, but you will also have the opportunity to create your own newspaper packed with articles about what is going on in the world around us. I took Journalism through HW Summer in summer of 2020 and the course curriculum is very similar to that of Media of the Modern Age at the middle school. Journalism was an amazing course that really boosted my writing skills in preparation for News Magazine Journalism, also known as Spectrum.

Performing Arts

HW Summer offers extensive courses focusing on many different forms of performing arts. From band to choir, you can find some sort of performing art that pertains to your passions. HW Summer offers two strict band classes, Beginning Violin, Clarinet, and Trumpet, and String Duets and Trios, both of which focus on specific instruments and instrument categories in order to improve your musical ability. Whether you’re taking the course to get ahead for a class you’re taking next year or just for fun, both classes will provide a fun and extensive musical curriculum that will surely improve your musical skills.

Two classes taught by Greg Goddu, Create your own Electronic Music and Rock and Roll Recording, focus on recording your own music in two different genres, electronic and rock and roll.

If you’re interested in stagecraft, acting, and scene writing, the theater classes offered by HW Summer may be perfect for you! Stand Up Comedy, Monologue and Scene Study, Music Theatre Workshop, and State of the Art Lighting and Sound Design are four courses that focus on musical theatre and all the aspects of it. Stand up Comedy, Music Theatre Workshop both Monologue and Scene Study all focus on performing and acting for others whereas State of the Art Lighting and Sound Design, as the title suggests, focuses on the backstage aspect of a musical or show.

The last performing arts class, Body in Motion, taught by Patrica Huerta, will help you improve your dancing skills in contemporary dance, hip-hop, and other forms of dance.

Public Speaking and Debate

One class independent of the summer schedule, Speak and Debate like Pro, focuses on the aspects of a good speech and how to add emotion to a speech in order to make it convincing, inspiring, enjoyable to listen to. Although the Middle School only offers one speech and debate class, the Upper School offers many more such as Lincoln Douglas debate.

Overall, HW Summer is an amazing program to be a part of and is a great way to enhance your academic and creative abilities. Through these enriching and enjoyable courses, you can not only follow a passion of yours, try something you’ve been wanting to do for a while, but also improve your skills in preparation for a class you may have in that subject in the future. Being a part of HW Summer is both enriching and enjoyable, and not an experience you will likely forget.

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