Students spend summer preparing for ACT testing, college entrance through STEM Summer Institute

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Students involved in the CAP and GOWN Project aren't taking a vacation from pursuing their dreams, they're still hitting the books. Mae Jemison High Rising Junior Olivia Crutcher is one of them.

"I felt like I need the help with my ACT," Crutcher said.

As a part of the CAP and GOWN Project, she's visited colleges and already taken the ACT test.

"I saw everything that needed to be done," Crutcher said. "I just felt like I needed extra help, and that's why I came to STEM."

Crutcher's now seated among dozens of other members looking to learn skills during the 2017 STEM Summer Institute.

"These are some of the most involved students who have already seen what it's going to take to achieve the dreams for their college and career," Emily Heller, Program Director, said.

Heller helps with the program taking place this summer at Lee High School.

"They're going to be taking very intense ACT prep courses taught by Huntsville City Schools teachers, they're going to be doing a college prep class also taught by our awesome Huntsville City Schools teachers, and then there's some hands one STEM activities," Heller said.

The summer program's goal is an increase of three points on the ACT score per student, as well as completed college and scholarship applications.

"I know it will help my ACT score grow and you always learn new things," Crutcher said about the program.

These learners also experience more college visits and local business tours during the program.

"That creates this incredible drive for to go to the four-year college of their choice, come back to the community, get one of those incredible STEM or otherwise jobs here and then pour back into their communities," Heller said.

The summer institute is split into two weeks, but teachers say these students typically spend the rest of their summer studying for the ACT.