Summer work provides students with head start

Photo illustration by Jacqueline Dewitt

Jacqueline DeWitt

Photo illustration by Jacqueline Dewitt

Sharon Kim, Staff reporter

As the last bell of the year resonates throughout the hall, most GBS students rush out of school ready to bask in the warmth of the summer sun. Within the bliss of a long-awaited vacation, schoolwork is hardly the first thing on a student’s mind. However, students with summer homework are given an early start to the upcoming school year.

According to junior Elizabeth Kunnel, she received assignments for both her AP Language and AP U.S. History courses. As summer came to an end, she claimed that the homework helped her get back into the flow of school and make the transition a lot smoother.

“I started [the homework] a week before school because I kind of went into panic mode and I knew that there was a big assignment due so I started reading the book,” Kunnel said. “It took me four to five days and I took notes and finally got it done.”

Although Kunnel finished her assignments, she claims that she struggled the most with finding the motivation to start her work, yet the work paid off on the first day of school.

“My favorite part was probably being able to feel productive on the first day of school because we jumped right into the curriculum from our summer assignments in the classes,” Kunnel said.

According to history teacher Benedict Hussman, summer reading has numerous positive purposes, one being to maintain reading skills.

“Numerous studies show that reading facility declines over summers as students don’t read,” Hussman said.

Sophomore Jarrett Prchal was assigned a math packet for for his Advanced Algebra course. According to Prchal, he found that the summer work prepared him for upcoming topics.

“It wasn’t easy, but it was definitely helpful to me because I’m using the skills now in math class,” Prchal said.

However, summer homework is assigned to keep skills fresh in order for students to be prepared when they return to class, according to Math teacher Teresa Youngberg. Youngberg claims that the work is also a useful tool for those switching into higher-level classes.

“It’s a great tool for students who are changing levels so they can see what’s missing in the material and then help them have several weeks to learn it,” Youngberg said.

According to Hussman, the content that students are expected to cover over the summer exposes them to aspects that may not be touched on during the school year, but will aid them throughout the year and give them an immediate advantage.

“One of our goals in the books we choose for summer reading is to pick some larger historical monographs, which are historical narratives that expose students to better historical writing,” Hussman said.

Hussman claims that summer homework is by no means a form of punishment, and that the assignments will help students in the long run.

“I’m very worried that in the age of the internet extended reading is a less and less part of students lives, and I think that’s very sad because clearly, anyone who operates at the top of any profession is able to read complex materials and understand them well,” Hussman said.