In 1983, Jackie Jackson and Gail Whitney founded Saturday Academy with the goal of inspiring students to follow their curiosity in science and technology. Both educators in Portland, they left their mainstream jobs to develop an innovative program designed to connect middle-school students with community professionals interested in sharing their passion with youth. The focus: hands-on, in-depth learning opportunities for any motivated student. Income, race or gender was not to be a barrier.
The success of the program received national attention. In 1996, President Clinton awarded Whitney with a presidential award for excellence for the program’s work in math, science and engineering mentoring.
From the initial cohort of 150 students, Saturday Academy has grown to provide classes, camps and
internships to more than 7,000 students each year.
Thirty-five years later our programs have expanded, but our mission remains the same.
Our Classes & Camps program offers:
- Hands-on, in-depth learning experiences for students in grades 2-12
- Instruction in science, technology, engineering, math, arts and college prep
- Community expert instructors teaching throughout the Portland Metro Area
- Financial aid and tuition assistance through our generous donors
In addition to open enrollment classes and camps, our Saturday Academy to You (SA2U) brings our classes into local schools and organizations through grant funding and parent pay opportunities; our Apprenticeships in Science & Engineering (ASE) program offers 8-week summer internships to high school students in science and engineering throughout Oregon and SW Washington and our Girls Engage Technology (GET) program provides free instruction designed specifically to increase girls confidence in their abilities in programming and technology.
We are proud to continue their legacy for the next 35 years and beyond.