This week, as Freedom Summer begins to enter its second half, we’re focusing in on one of our favorite parts of the Freedom Project: Summers Opps!!!
Summer Opps is short for “Summer Opportunities,” which are chances for Freedom Summer Collegiate students to attend colleges, universities, and elite boarding schools in order to see opportunities available to them. Students apply to summer programs of their choice with the hopes of challenging themselves and trying new things.
“We had to write essays and fill out a bunch of applications, and submit our grades and our teachers had to give recommendations,” Ashton Weeks, a rising tenth grader said.
Many students’ experience during Summer Opps is also one of their first chances to independently travel outside of Mississippi.
“I have to fly by myself, up there, no help, can’t have any adults, no person from the Freedom Project….and it’s my first time flying,” Mr. Weeks said. “I know you can’t bring like water on the plane…but like can we bring Xboxes?”
Mr. Weeks, a rising tenth grader, will attend the summer program at Phillips-Exeter, an elite boarding school in New Hampshire. While there he’ll take classes in Psychology and Philosophy, which focus in on the study of euphoria and the nature of humanity, but he said he’s most excited about traveling and experiencing new things.
“I’m going to have a lot of free time, and we can take trips and stuff,” Mr. Weeks said. “I want to visit [all the big cities]….I’m going to explore.”
Vin Darius Thomas shared Mr. Weeks’ sentiments about experiencing new things, although he was less timid about his first flight.
“I’m excited about meeting new people, meeting and getting to know a whole lot of new personalities….I’ve been out of the state before, but people from other countries are going to be there,” Mr. Thomas, a rising tenth grader, said.
Mr. Thomas is attending Explo on the campus of Yale University, along with Kendra Womack, a rising 10th grader. He will take classes in Psychology and Sports & Entertainment while also participating in basketball and football. He is one of many students heading to the Northeast, along with Timesea Ginn and Mr. Weeks among others.
Ms. Ginn will be attending the summer program at Phillips-Andover, another elite boarding school in Massachusetts.
“I’m taking classes and getting the college life,” Ms. Ginn said. “I’m taking Geometry and Play Production….I’m excited for the Play Production class because I like musicals.”
Some students will stay closer to home and attend Summer College at Ole Miss, like MacKenzie Knighten, who will take classes in Forensics.
“I’m really kind of scared of stuff like that but I figured I would give it a try since it was something I couldn’t do before,” Ms. Knighten said.
Many students will get out of their comfort zone, either close to their homes in the Mississippi Delta or miles and miles away, but either way we’re excited to see them take advantage of the opportunity, learn, and grow!!!
This is also only a snapshot of a few of the students who will be attending Summer Opps, so we encourage anyone who knows year-round Freedom Project students to ask them about their Summer Opps and support their hard work!