San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

July 2nd, 2009
Caminos camp preps students for high school


Caminos students in the Texas State Agriculture Building.


San Marcos CISD (SMCISD) middle school students recently attended the Caminos camp at Texas State. While at the camp, they received high school credit, lived in dorms and went on weekend field trips.

Caminos, which is derived form the spanish word camino, meaning journey, path or way, was started in 2003 by Dr. Jamie Chahin, Dean of Applied Arts at Texas State. The program assess students’ academic potential, despite whatever limitations they might have.

“Two of the biggest barriers were the students’ mentality and their families,” said Onesimo Banda, Assistant Coordinator for Caminos. “I want them to know that average people, not just the brainiacs or the people with money, can attend college.”

Students attended classes at San Marcos High School (SMHS) for the first three weeks of the program. While there, they learned the English, technology and math they would use as high school freshmen. They were also separated from their normal cliques and forced to interact with different students.

The students also met at SMHS on Saturdays for weekly field trips to Texas State’s Aquarena Center and the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum. They also engaged in a group service project at the Aquarena Springs Aquarium.

For the next three weeks, the students stayed in the Jackson Hall dorm at Texas State while attending classes in the Hines Academic Building, Alkek Library and the Agricultural Building. Each day began with a leadership class, where students worked on team building exercises that boosted self confidence.

“The leadership classes help students open up and find their voices,” first-year Texas State tutor Gabriella Lombardo said. “It is cool to see the quiet kids, who are hesitant, come out of their shells and actually volunteer in class.”

Caminos students heading to class.

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