During the academic year, JAG students juggle a very busy schedule. They attend class, many work outside the school day at full-time jobs and all participate in activities and fundraising in their individual JAG programs. This busy schedule does not conclude at the end of the school year. One of the characteristics that sets JAG apart from other programs is the year-round participation of the students and Job Specialists. Students continue to work during the summer months and some programs organize summer projects to help in their communities. JAG-New Hampshire has one such summer program in Berlin.
Almost a dozen students spent three weeks during the summer break helping to create the first designated hiking trail up Mount Jasper in Berlin, New Hampshire. The students raked, moved rocks, and built stairs. “I’m proud that we got to blaze a new trail for people to hike up,” said Berlin High Senior Hailey Gabicki. . Junior Matt Costa said he thought building the trail wouldn’t be much fun. But he found he enjoyed the experience and especially liked crushing the rocks. “It was worth it,” Trail leader John Toussiant remarked that the JAG students worked harder than some of the adult professional crews and the trail project was his favorite of the summer he said. Many of the students plan to use the trail themselves and to take their families on the trail.
In previous summers the JAG students from Berlin High have helped to clean around the school system but this year was a first. The students were out-sourced to the city’s Public Works Crew and the Berlin Recreation and Parks to assist with projects around the community. The students are paid for the summer work and it’s like any other job and they are expected to show up each day on time. Berlin High Youth Specialist Lisa King said that seventeen students completed the summer program in Berlin, which includes academics as well as work so students can earn credits toward graduation. In addition to the twelve students who worked on the trail five more students worked around the community helping with outdoor projects including teaching sports to young children.