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John Adams camp gives introduction to high school (photo gallery)


Nearly 100 incoming freshman were immersed quickly Monday morning into a main course of “all things high school” – with a little hip-hop on the side -- at the John Adams “Rebel Up” Summer Bridge Academy. 

The four-week orientation program "is really all about helping the rising eighth-graders transition to a high school and for most of them, this high school,” said Ted Lockmiller, a John Adams algebra teacher who coordinates the summer camp  with Darlene Toney of College Now Greater Cleveland. College Now aids the school by coordinating “wraparound” services that help students overcome obstacles to education.

“We want people to come see for themselves what we have to offer at John Adams,” Lockmiller said. “This is a great program for the incoming freshmen but also a chance for us to market our school.”
He said most of the incoming ninth-graders will attend John Adams, but a handful have selected other CMSD high schools.
College Now Greater Cleveland is sponsoring the program with United Way of Greater Cleveland. Also represented Monday were the District’s Closing the Achievement Gap and Family and Community Engagement offices and three non-profits, the Progressive Arts Alliance, Knowledge Youth Organization and the Union-Miles Development Corp. 

“We want to get them excited about what we have to offer academically but also the resources that they can utilize for whatever need they have,” Lockmiller said. “We want them to ask, to be aware of them and to use them.”

On Monday morning, students attended courses on basic matters like how to navigate the sprawling school, find their lockers and use their locks. They also learned how to use online programs for college preparation (Naviance) and grades (Jupiter).

They will follow one schedule on Mondays and Wednesdays, another on Tuesdays and Thursdays and a more open schedule on Fridays to mimic the setup used at the high school, Lockmiller said. 
“That's a big change for many of them, and it takes some planning,” Lockmiller said.

Parents and guardians also could take courses to learn about many of the same things their students were learning and the school’s Student Parent Organization.

A video game designing course and a hip-hop dance session were also popular destinations for the teenage students at the Summer Bridge Academy.
Anthony Velez, a 2005 Lincoln-West graduate who dances professionally under the name "Tony Fresh," 
schooled nine freshmen in the history of hip-hop and break dancing before teaching moves or playing music. His daily sessions are sponsored by the Progressive Arts Alliance.

The former Cavaliers’ Scream Team dancer, who owns a dance studio in Parma and appeared on the TV show “So You Think You Can Dance?” told the students he could teach them all the fundamentals of dance in four weeks but that they had better have an education plan, too.

“I’ve been around the world spinning on my head, but I’m not going to do that forever,” he said. “Now I’m going to Tri-C to get a degree, I’m married and I’ve got a 4-month-old baby. My education is going to make the difference.”