Helping Bridges Students Envision the Future
Helping Bridges Students Envision the Future

The Summer Institute held by Bridges at Gilman is currently underway, with 48 fourth through seventh grade students from Baltimore City public schools enjoying academic and social enrichment classes and activities on and off campus.

To augment this week's theme, "A View Into the Future," two notable Gilman alumni visited the students to share their own life stories.

Cleveland Browns Wide Receiver Darius Jennings '11 spoke about his path from Gilman to the University of Virginia and the NFL. He talked about his ambition to go to graduate school in order to lay the foundation for "life after football." He also talked about the challenges he has faced along the way and how they have made him stronger.

St. Ignatius Loyola Academy's Director of Admissions and Dean of Students J.V. Scott '97 shared some key turning points in his life. These included his arrival at Gilman as a first grader, the powerful influence of teachers --including Fred Schwanke and Don Rogers -- on his life, and the effect of a trip to Egypt later in life. He spoke about his passion for teaching and working with young people in a variety of ways.

Both men spoke about their desire to give back to their respective communities, to repay some of the debt they feel for the support they've been given over the years.

Gilman faculty member Ned Harris is the director of the Bridges program. He knows how transformative these kinds of presentations can be for the Bridges students. He explained that "J.V. and Darius embody the values we try to instill every day during the Summer Institute. They made instant connections with our elementary and middle school students, and their life experiences reinforce the message that education matters a whole lot."

Through these talks, students are encouraged to think about their own paths, the choices they have made, and the influences on their lives.

Additional activities supporting this week's theme include:

  • 4th Grade: Visit to Baltimore Museum of Industry and City Garage (Under Armour)
  • 5th Grade: Tour of WBAL with radio show host Brett Hollander '03 and visit with commercial real estate developer Doug Schmidt '85 P '22, '25
  • 6th Grade: Meet with doctors, nurses, and technicians at GBMC
  • 7th Grade: Tour St. John's College and U.S. Naval Academy

All Bridges activites are designed to ensure that the motivated young people have the support and guidance necessary to become the young leaders our society needs. Fifteen Gilman students will volunteer nearly 2,000 hours of service during the Summer Institute to assist the teaching staff and work directly with students.

The Summer Institute will run through July 29, but the Bridges program continues throughout the school year with an after-school program for fourth and fifth graders, middle school guidance for fifth grade students, and monthly weekend learning adventures for sixth and seventh graders.