Category Archives: High School

First-Time Voters

The following is a message from Dr. Marc Spencer, Summer Search CEO, featuring a Q&A from two Summer Search participants who are voting for the first time.


The noise and tension around the upcoming election can feel overwhelming, especially in light of the difficult moment we are in. I’m writing this as yet another death has occurred in the Black community — Walter Wallace, Jr. in Philadelphia — by police use of excessive force.

Amidst the global pandemic of COVID-19, the uprisings against police violence, the climate crisis, and an economic crisis, we are facing decisions that will impact us, and the young people we partner with, for years to come.

As I know this community is aware of, voting — for president, for local councilperson, for judges, and every elected position and proposition in between — is the cornerstone of a healthy democracy. It’s a moment where each of us can lift our voices and our power.

Voter ID resource from When We All Vote and Vote Riders. See more resources at the bottom of this story.
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Creating an Inclusive and Innovative Community

An inclusive community works as a team to offer resources and works hard to improve the quality of life of its members.”
Jess H., Summer Search Philadelphia alumna.

Last month, the Summer Search community gathered together to discuss and answer the central question: How do we create an inclusive and innovative community?

This conversation was led by Summer Search Philadelphia, who re-imagined their annual event to meet the moment and the movement of 2020, reflecting the desire for all of us in the nonprofit, private, and government sectors to pursue profound and sustainable change.

The format of the discussion was a Charrette, a meeting in which all stakeholders in a project attempt to resolve conflicts and design solutions, featuring voices of Philadelphia students, alumni, board members, staff, and key business leaders.

Summer Search Philadelphia student and alumni speakers: Amarion, Jess, Sianni, and Cesar.
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Going Back To School in 2020

We’re running out of ways to talk about how unprecedented and unpredictable 2020 has been. So, let’s hear from the Summer Search community.

Last month, Seattle alumna Ehler Tha Win shared her perspective on graduating college into a world facing a pandemic and racial injustice.

Today, we’re excited to share two voices from our high school community — Summer Searchers who are going back to school and navigating COVID challenges and tensions around racial and social issues.

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Summer Reimagined: 2020 Highlights

“Although we may not have been able to go on our trips, I still did a lot of self-discovery and completed my goals.”


Thanks to the dedication, imagination, and innovation of our entire Summer Search community, we were able to completely change our 2020 summer plans to keep our community safe in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This summer, across our entire network, our young people were able to choose from a wide variety of online programs that promoted some of the same outcomes as our traditional in-person/travel-based summer experiences — agency and educational attainment.

Continue reading Summer Reimagined: 2020 Highlights

Prop 16: Making Equity a Reality

At Summer Search, our staff and participants are passionate about achieving racial equity and liberation and strongly believe that everyone has the right to succeed in the path they choose for themselves.

As part of this commitment, we are proud to endorse Proposition 16 on the California ballot this fall alongside more than 400 community organizations, businesses, and local elected officials.

Continue reading Prop 16: Making Equity a Reality

Stories From A Historic Class

For the first time in the University of California (UC) system’s history, Chicano or Latino students made up the greatest share of Californians admitted to the freshman class, at 36%.

As part of its “California Today” column, The New York Times profiled four members of this historic freshman class — discussing being part of a major shift in UC system and about starting college during the COVID-19 pandemic.

And two of those featured students are Summer Searchers — Mariana and Dora from the Bay Area!

Screenshots of two Summer Searchers featured in The New York Times.

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Summer Reimagined: Global Glimpse

At the outset of the summer, as it became clear that the COVID-19 pandemic would mean that travel wasn’t going to be possible, we made the decision that we would not send our young people on our traditional summer experiences in 2020.

So, while the coronavirus may have changed our summer plans, it hasn’t stopped us from finding ways to provide our students opportunities for connection, reflection, and growth.

Thanks to the hard work and creativity of our incredible staff, dedicated volunteers, and summer partners, we are offering online/digital programming that connects students to internships, post-secondary exploration, cultural exchange, as well as workshops on financial well-being and more.

And summer is already underway!

Continue reading Summer Reimagined: Global Glimpse

2020 Decisions – Part 2

Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

While the last few months have truly been confusing and heartbreaking, we remain inspired by the hope embodied by our young people, as they quickly adapt to a pandemic and stand up against social injustice. Again and again, Summer Search students show resilience and determination as they pursue their education and seek new opportunities to grow, thrive, and become the next generation of purpose-driven leaders.

Last month, we shined a light on a handful of Summer Searchers in the Class of 2020 who were celebrating their post-secondary decisions. Today we’re checking in with three more high school seniors: Anjaliyah, Jason, and Rasmee.

Summer Search Boston Student AmbassadorsFrom left to right: Jason, Anjaliyah, and Rasmee.

Continue reading 2020 Decisions – Part 2

Our Community Responds

Social injustice and racial inequalities must come to an end. The killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Nina Pop, James Scurlock and too many other Black people are acts of terror.

We know these senseless deaths have caused great pain and angst for all Summer Searchers and have had an especially traumatic impact on our black-identifying students, staff, and community members.

In times of crisis, everyone reacts differently — from speaking out, to reflecting inward, and everything in between. We wanted to spotlight how a few folks in our Summer Search family have responded publicly — from expressing their emotions, rallying their communities, sharing resources, and much more.

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Black Lives Matter

The following is a message co-authored by Summer Search’s Alumni Board Chairs, our Alumni Staff Cohort, and CEO Dr. Marc Spencer.


Dear Summer Search Students and Alumni,

We are thinking of you, your families, and all our communities right now. We wish you safety and health, and hope to see you again very soon. We have much work to do ahead.

These past few weeks have been especially difficult, as our nation has watched the continued assault, police brutality, and murdering of black people. It’s frightening, it’s infuriating, and it’s exhausting.

Black and Brown people, including many in our own community of students, alumni, their families, our staff, and our boards, are living an existential crisis: murdered, exposed disproportionately to COVID-19, terminated from employment and benefits, denied access to healthcare, housing, and financial systems, and backed up hard against the wall. It’s no wonder the result has been anger and protest.

Continue reading Black Lives Matter