Summer Snapshot From Sunset Park

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While some New York City students enrolled in summer enrichment programs, or were among the lucky few to find work through the city’s Summer Youth Employment Program, most had to find their own jobs, internships and other ways of keeping busy.

Send us your summer stories; with only a month left of vacation it's not too early to hone your answer to the question: "What did you do this summer?"

SchoolBook collected some answers to that question this week from high school students in the Sunset Park neighborhood of Brooklyn.

Nayoby Jimenez, 15, a rising sophomore at Sunset Park High School spent a few weeks building things at an engineering program run by the Baruch College STEP Academy.

“He was very excited,” said Jhossue Jimenez, Nayoby’s brother. “He’s always ready to jump on things.”

Nayoby learned the fundamentals of engineering, and also worked on group projects, building mousetrap-powered racecars and a bridge that could support 170 pounds. He said that his experience would help him when it came time to apply to college, where he hopes to study neurology.

The program ended this week, but Nayoby said the time off had given him a chance to write poetry and fiction. “Whenever I feel a little bit of inspiration, I focus on my writing,” he said. He's also been watching the Olympics.

At a playground a few blocks from Nayoby’s house, a handball game was under way. The electric blue ball ricocheted off the peeling wall with a loud thwack and was chased down by Timothy Gonzalez, an 18-year-old student at West Brooklyn Community High School.

Mr. Gonzalez said that he did not work this summer but that he had been attending Access College Success Program, a college readiness course offered at his transfer school.

Mr. Gonzalez said handball was refreshing: “You get a little exercise, lose some weight.”

On the court, equal parts technique and showmanship, Justin Garcia dropped his shoulders, tossed his curly hair and lunged forward on a serve. Justin, a rising senior at Fort Hamilton High School, said that he worked for the first month of the summer, but gave it up to play more baseball.

“I’m a baseball fanatic,” he said. “Handball is something that allows me to get better at it. You hit inside the lines and just do your best.”

The attitude on the court was best summed up by Jose Rivero, 50, who said that he was here to keep an eye on the students while also staying fit.

“Summer is all about having fun,” Mr. Rivero said, his sinewy body glistening with sweat. “You’re not having fun, it ain’t no summer.”