BEACH Program

BEACH Program

St. Augustine Prep is presently in the second year of “Bridging Education with Atlantic City via Hermits.” The BEACH program was developed by St. Augustine Prep, in partnership with the Boys & Girls Club of Atlantic City to provide as many unique, learning opportunities as possible for talented, ambitious, middle-school young men in the Atlantic City area. The students are bused to the campus of St. Augustine Prep, provided meals and Prep gear. Members of the St. Augustine Prep faculty, along with students from the senior class coordinate and implement the program on a volunteer basis. This is yet another example of the school community living the Augustinian core values of Truth, Unity, and Love.

The specific goals of the program:

  • To strengthen academic skills, most notably core writing and mathematics.
  • Expose students to a variety of new experiences.
  • Explore new gifts and talents.
  • Engage in group activities, both physical and mental.
  • Practice self-reflection.

The personalized, intentional, and focused curriculum covered during the BEACH program, coupled with follow-up throughout the school year, increases the likelihood for success.

Summer 2018 – Week 1

Day 1 – We’re Back!

We are so excited to be back with many of our guys from last year as well as a new group! It’s hard to believe a year has passed, but seeing how much the boys have grown is certainly proof. We had a great first day and started with a welcome from Mr. Burke and a quick campus tour courtesy our Hermit seniors. This was followed by chess, a bit of math, and a science activity with Mr. Hale. Following lunch, the seniors organized the boys for some basketball. The day went quickly, but it was wonderful to be back together for another summer. LINK: Click here for a full recap and photos from Day 1!

(Left) Sincere Rhea ’19 spends some time sharing some wisdom with this year’s participants on Day 1.

Day 2 – Another Great Day in Richland

Today at the Prep, our 24 young men kept very busy. They hustled right off the bus and into the classroom for a bit of math practice. Once that was complete, Mr. Hale led the boys in a fascinating science activity– you may even be able to try it at home. After a quick snack, it was time to work on a writing assignment with Mrs. Chapman. Lunch (meatball subs, pizza & cookies!) was followed by our ongoing chess tournament lead by Mr. Burke. Before leaving for Atlantic City, the boys had some recreation time with Chris, Christian, Sincere, and Charles. All in all, an awesome day!  LINK: Click here for a full recap and photos from Day 2!

Day 3 – The Great Outdoors (of St. Augustine Prep)

The boys hit the ground running with morning sessions of math and writing. Mr. Burke worked with the boys on their math skills, and Mrs. Chapman led practice on writing strong thesis statements. After a quick snack, it was out to the Prep amphitheater and garden for a presentation from Riley Quirk, class of 2021. Riley is an avid and expert gardener, and he showed the boys how to prepare the soil, plant seeds, and make & use compost. We finished up with a sample of Riley’s homegrown red and black raspberries. After lunch, the boys played several dodgeball games – definitely a favorite! LINK: Click here for a full recap and photos from Day 3!

Christian Carson (’20) shares a few of the finer points of being a Hermit that have helped him through his first two years at St. Augustine.

Day 4 – Whew!

What an exciting first week! It has been wonderful to spend these four days together. We began today with a visit to the football field and a powerful talk from the Prep’s head football coach, Mr. Pete Lancetta. Coach Lancetta spoke to the boys about the importance of academics and how making the right decisions keeps us on track for success. After a snack, we spent some time with Mr. Hale who discussed geology. Lunch was followed by another step in our chess tournament– we have some terrific players. We wrapped up the day with an obstacle course competition and a quick game of dodgeball. Can’t wait to see you back in Richland on July 9! LINK: Click here for a full recap and photos from Day 4!

Summer 2018 – Week 2

The “BEACH” Boys enjoyed some water ice courtesy of the Clayton Family to cap off a day full of learning and hard work!

Day 5 – Hard Work, Long Division, a BEACH Brotherhood Ceremony, and…Water Ice!

We got back to the BEACH with a busy Monday schedule! The boys began the day by meeting a few new people. . . Coach Fingerhut and Mr. Zagarella (St. Augustine faculty members), Gerry (a Prep senior), and Ms. Victoria (a Rowan University student-volunteer). Coach Fingerhut spoke with the students about fitness and hard work. He gave great advice about avoiding the “easy button.” Next, Mr. Burke led a math lesson on long division, and Mr. Hale had pairs of students working to design and create a contraption that can withstand a drop from the roof. After lunch, the boys were treated to water ice, courtesy of the Clayton family. To finish the day, the BEACH boys participated in a Brotherhood Ceremony and received their Prep shirts. We have a lot in store for the week ahead, so get a good night’s rest. Remember. . . Hermit t-shirts tomorrow! LINK: Click here for a full recap and photos from Day 5!

Day 6 – It’s Always Sunny In Richland

We had a great day in Richland! We began the day with alternate lessons from Mr. Zagarella and Mrs. Chapman; they focused on math practice and poetry/writing skills respectively. We have some really deep thinkers amongst the boys. Very impressed! After the academic work and a snack, we ventured outside for a lesson on the basics of rugby. The boys were very happy to welcome back Mr. Towell (Prep faculty member and head rugby coach), a few of his current rugby players, and Wyatt (class of 2018) for a return visit. I think we would all agree that rugby with Coach Towell and Coach Conover (Prep science teacher/rugby coach) was a highlight of the summer. After lunch, the boys had an “enthusiastic” dodgeball match. Tomorrow, we welcome back Sa’eed Nelson (class of 2016) and look forward to learning how to calm ourselves. . . a great skill at any age! LINK: Click here for a full recap and photos from Day 6!

Day 7 – Wednesday Wisdom

2016 St. Augustine Prep Graduate and current NCAA Division I Scholar-Athlete, Sa’eed Nelson shared some wisdom with the boys of the BEACH program!

We had an awesome day at St. Augustine Prep. After several days of patiently waiting, the boys made it out to watch part of football practice this morning! It was a real treat to see the seniors who spend each day with us, doing what they love. Next, the boys hustled inside to have a quick snack before returning to Mr. Hale’s science classroom to put the final touches on their latest creations. Once finished, it was time to head up to the roof to see if their designs could withstand a drop from the rooftop and still hold water!

Sa’eed Nelson (class of 2016), who is currently a junior at American University, made a return visit today, and what a treat! Coach Rodio introduced him, and then Sa’eed was able to tell us about his college experience (in the classroom and on the court) and answer the boys’ questions. Sa’eed stayed for lunch, and we got to relive his high school basketball highlights on the big screen. Click here and prepare to be impressed.

After lunch, we were all treated to a lesson on relaxation and its value, courtesy of Ms. Ace. Knowing how to de-stress and calm ourselves is a lesson that can benefit us for a lifetime. To the boys’ delight, we finished the day with another game of dodgeball!  LINK: Click here for a full recap and photos from Day 7!

Day 8 – Namaste

The boys got off the bus this morning and right into math work! We split them into three small groups for some intensive math practice with Mr. Zagarella, Ms. Victoria, and Mrs. Chapman. The boys are making progress, and we hope you will encourage them to continue working to improve their skills on their own time.

With the academic part of the day complete, the boys headed off to play basketball, chess, or a few fun math games. Lunch was next– we were treated to pizza and burgers.

The final part of the day was a wonderful change of pace as we welcomed Ms. Nicole Ney who led us through a challenging beginner yoga class. It was easy to see how important flexibility is– yet how many of us are lacking!

Summer 2018 – Week 3

Day 9 – Rocketmen

Today we returned to a favorite coach and favorite activity from last summer. . . Coach Valore and lacrosse! The boys had a great time learning about the history of the game, the equipment, and the rules. This was followed by the boys testing their skills with 4×4 competitions.



We definitely have some talent in this group. Our afternoon was centered around preparations for rocket launching. The boys began discussing and constructing rockets with their partners. We are looking forward to seeing how many of their creations take off at the end of the week.

Day 10 – Float Like a Butterfly, Sting Like a Bee

This may have been the best day yet – filled with activities and learning. We began the day with an interactive lesson on leadership. Mr. Cappuccio, our Dean of Enrollment, lead this presentation and your boys had wonderful insights. After a quick snack, we moved on to an amazing hour with one of our Hermit seniors, Connor Wetherington. Connor’s talents run far and wide, but today he focused on his interests and accomplishments with beekeeping. What a treat it was to hear him speak and to learn from him.

After venturing out to the new on-campus beehive, we had lunch. Cookies were back on the menu today! Lunch was followed by a math lesson from Mr. Matt Forrest. Mr. Forrest is a math teacher and coach at the Prep, and he had an awesome lesson for the boys. We’ll finish up this lesson tomorrow with a bit of post-Jeopardy shopping. Boy, that Final Jeopardy can really make or break a team!

Day 11 – Reading Rainbow

Today the boys met another of our Hermit faculty members, Mrs. Kathy Vermeeren. Mrs. V is an English teacher, and she was excited to share her love of reading with us. Each of the boys had to select a book to “sell” to his peers. This was a wonderful activity that emphasized not only reading but also public speaking skills.


The boys were also able to continue their rocket construction. Tomorrow is our launch day, and we can’t wait to see which pairs can make their rockets fly.

Day 12 – ‘Til We Meet Again

What an awesome last day together! We started the morning with a quick visit to football practice and a final look at Jaylen, Chris, Tommy, and Sincere at work on the field. This was followed by rocket launches! Mr. Hale helped the boys with this, and it was fascinating to see which rockets went up and which rockets went sideways (or nowhere!). Thank you, Mr. Hale for putting this, and so many activities, together.

On our final day, we met two more Hermit faculty members– Mrs. Lisa Quirk (Riley’s mom) and Profe Nidia Marshall. Both Mrs. Quirk and Profe Marshall teach Spanish at the Prep, and they are amazing, dynamic educators. Profe Marshall is always high-energy, and she brought her passion for teaching to the boys with a lesson on Spanish vocabulary. Mrs. Quirk was a hit with her taste-test lesson on popular foods in Spanish-speaking countries. Olives anyone? Taquitos?

The one and only Coach Paul Rodio spoke with us before lunch and as always, had sage advice for the boys as they inch closer to the beginning of the school year. Gratitude was an important part of his message, and we have been impressed with the many times the boys have expressed their appreciation throughout the summer. We are certainly grateful for them.

We ended the last day with pizza and conversation. It was a special time to relax and laugh. Our last half hour was spent in Rodio Gym shooting hoops and playing dodgeball. Mr. Burke had a final talk with the boys– we will surely miss them. It was a blessing to see so many of our guys return for year two and to get to know a new group of fine young men. A special thanks to Mark and Adrian from ACBGC for being with us every day.

Until next year!

Summer 2017: BEACH Program Highlights