Rising eighth graders from across Western New York spent nearly five weeks during summer 2019 at Canisius High School taking part in the Higher Achievement program (HAP). HAP has been a summer staple at Canisius for several decades and provides boys with opportunities to enrich themselves through academics and athletics, make new friends, and prepare for the high school entrance exam.
Participants had options to take part in classes and intramural sports including basketball, football, and hockey. Each participant was assigned to a team named for a Jesuit college. Team members learned together in the classroom in the morning and teams competed against each other during the afternoon sports time.
“HAP is a lot of fun, and the sports are my favorite part,” said 2019 HAP participant Kellen Palmer. “It’s a great way to get to know kids I didn’t know before.”
Tucker Crofut ’20 is a former HAP participant who served as a HAP counselor in summer 2019. “When I was in HAP I looked up to the counselors and thought they were the coolest kids in the world,” Tucker said. “I’m happy that I can serve in that role now and help these kids get an idea of what they will experience in high school.”
“HAP is where young men get a first taste of what Jesuit education is about. Learning to be a good teammate and look out for one another is a part of it,” explains Tom Coppola ’01 who is the director of summer programs at Canisius and a former HAP participant himself. “It’s amazing to see their growth over the few weeks of the program. Some of them are nervous at the beginning, but as they meet new people and get into the activities, they start loving it.”