Photo by Jason Miller
At first, Molly wasn’t so sure about Culver. “I was homesick, but I kept going back and I
made friends and kept myself busy,” she says. Eight summers later, Molly is hardly the
shy, tentative girl who first went to Culver in 2011.
During the school year, Culver is a college prep boarding school that includes a
military academy for boys as well as a girls academy. The summer program is dedicated to
building leadership qualities in its campers, educating them about chains of command,
similar to the U.S. military. Now in her final summer at Culver, Molly says that her experiences
there have boosted her confidence and self-respect and opened her eyes to what’s
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possible in her adult life.
Since High School junior
Molly Harper was nine years
old, she’s spent six weeks
each summer away from
her family at Culver
Summer School and Camp
in north central Indiana.
“Culver is such an incredible place. I’ve built strong relationships and made friends from all over the country
and the world,” she says. “It’s really built my character. I’ve learned what I want in myself and from other people
and what values I find important.”
Molly says that Culver also has widened her perspective. “Going here makes me want to change the world.
I realize that there are countries that have issues far worse than we have in America,” she says. “I’m constantly
reminding myself that there are kids in those places who are just like me. I know that I want to do something with
my life that impacts people because Culver has helped me become more globally aware.”
She also credits Culver with many of her academic choices. For example, Molly has taken Spanish because
she’s made friends at Culver from Mexico and Colombia. This year, many of her international friends will also
share an academic experience with her, as candidates in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme. “We
plan to compare notes over the year,” she says.
Molly is reflective about her Culver experience and says that her final summer there was bittersweet. Still,
she has this advice to her peers, whether they’re spending their summers at a camp like Culver or closer to home
in Shaker Heights. “Try as many new things as possible and embrace every new experience,” she says. “Because
summer is over before you know it.” SL