GAINING EARLY AWARENESS AND READINESS FOR UNDERGRADUATE PROGRAMS (GEAR UP)

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Housel Student Success Story

Our eighth grade class is packed with talent, skills, creativity and a great deal of potential. Students each shine in their own way and we can’t wait to see that potential unfold in the years to come.  We, GEAR UP, would like to highlight one particular student who we feel has shown consistent determination and growth.  As well as a positive attitude in and out of the classroom this school year.

Julio Garcia is an eighth grade student at Housel Middle School who leads by example. He is a hard worker. He always does his homework and works well with others. GEAR UP wanted to get to know a little more about what drives Julio to be such a great student in school. After talking to him I learned that band is his favorite subject in school. He stated enthusiastically “In that room, I do what I like to do, play my instrument.”Julio plays the percussion and drum set.

I was curious to find out if Julio noticed a difference in his performance at school. Without hesitating, when asked this question, he replied “Yes! In sixth and seventh grade I had more B’s than A’s in my classes, and now the majority of my grades are A’s.” Julio also mentioned that he struggled more as a sixth and seventh grader because he was shy. Now he talks to his teachers and prepares for his tests. What caused this turning point for Julio? That’s exactly what I was wondering, so I asked. Julio attributes his progress it to increased confidence.  He is able to ask for help and has gained experience with presenting to his class. “AVID class has helped me with that” says Julio. “And also because of AVID I am more organized, I feel like I have more help now from tutors and my teachers as well as more information about colleges.”

Julio’s Algebra I teacher, Mrs. Cole, stated that “Julio is a model student. He sits quietly until directed to begin a task. He works hard and asks questions when he has them.” Julio’s work ethic can be described as hard working as he regularly takes diligent notes. Another teacher who had nothing but great things to say about Julio was Mrs. Hachtel, his AVID teacher. She mentioned that Julio is “Always committed to doing his best. Works well by himself and others.”  Both teachers agreed that Julio has definitely improved this school year.

“I definitely see improvement in Julio since the beginning of the year. He used to be very quiet and I’d have to call on him for him to speak in class. Now he volunteers information and actively participates in class discussions.” - Mrs. Cole

 “I see huge gains in Julio from 7th to 8th grade. His willingness to speak out in class, participate, and do things that are a little out of the norm, like taking his drums and playing them during his Passion Speech in AVID class. Julio commands respect in a very quiet way, from both students and adults.” - Mrs. Hachtel

Learning to be a good leader requires admitting our own flaws and recognizing when we can modify something in order to attain a better result. Julio is very aware of this. He offered “The ways in which I can improve in my classes are by looking over my notes more often to study. I can ask my mom to quiz me over the material at home that way I can make sure whether I know everything or if I need to go back and study more.”

In developing as a leader, his teachers suggest similar things such as continuing to speak up in class as well as improving his study skills to earn higher grades on quizzes and tests.

Julio plans to attend Central Washington University because it can help him with his career goal, which is to be part of a band. CWU has a program specifically for the instrument that he loves.  Another reason why he wants to attend CWU  is that the campus is close enough to family. 

As GEAR UP we love seeing students putting forth great effort in all of their classes and reaching their goals as well as setting new ones. We help students as much as possible with in-class help as well as after school tutoring. That is why we are so pleased to take this time to highlight one student who stood out to our GEAR UP staff. We look forward to our entire eighth grade cohort moving up to the high school next year!

Prescott GEAR UP Students Attend College Planning Day

On a brisk Friday morning in March, five seniors and eight juniors boarded a bus headed for WSU Tri-Cities to check out College Planning Day. Out of the seventeen colleges and universities represented, the students were allowed to choose four presentations.  Each presentation lasted 30 minutes, which was enough time for an overview of the college and Q&A afterward. Prescott seniors are GEARing-UP for college and many of them have already applied. Yessenia Escalante, who had previously thought she would be attending Eastern in the fall, was especially happy that she had this opportunity. “[College Planning Day] made me realize that WSU Tri-Cities is a better choice for me.  The classes are the same and I will save a ton of money by living at home.”  This event provided a chance for students to view presentations from multiple colleges at one time, which makes it easier to compare them.  They were also afforded the chance to ask questions directly from an expert representing that particular institution. All in all, College Planning Day was a tremendous use of time and effort for the representatives who traveled to it, the students who participated, and the team that organized the event. 

College and Career Fair at Garrison Middle School

GEAR UP, in partnership with Garrison Middle School held a College and Career Fair for students and families. The event turned out to be a great success! Over 20 College and Career representatives were set up in Garrison’s large gym, with attendees numbering just over 300 parents and students had plenty of questions for the community representatives. Students and families were able to discuss college preparation, resources, admissions, academics and registration information with representatives from colleges such as Eastern Oregon University, Eastern Washington University and Walla Walla Community College. Students were also able to discuss career information directly from career professionals including; an orthodontist, a district court judge, criminal justice/probation staff, county coroner, hair stylist, massage therapist and many more. This GEAR UP event, gave students the opportunity to discuss options and important career information that will help guide them on their academic path. 

Rubi Lopez, an 8th grade GEAR UP student at Garrison Middle School felt that the College/Career Fair was, “A very fun event that let me talk with people who are in careers that I am interested in.” Students and staff at Garrison are looking forward to making this event a success next year as well. 

Finley GEAR UP Student Ambassador attends Spring Break College Tour for an Amazing Experience

River View High School's GEAR UP Student Ambassador, freshman Veanna Grogan, took advantage of a great opportunity over her Spring Break this month. Veanna attended the Western Washington Student Ambassador Program April 1st-3rd in Seattle, Washington. Before the trip Veanna was very excited and a little bit nervous to be away for a few days, but with great family and GEAR UP staff support she was ready for the adventure.

The morning of the first day, all students attending the program from across the area GEAR UP schools met up at Columbia Basin College to depart for Seattle. The first stop once the group arrived in the city was to the University of Washington. At UW, the group went on a campus tour, heard from a student panel, and attended an admissions presentation. Veanna described the campus as “really big and cool” and enjoyed seeing the Harry Potter Library (Suzzallo Library) and learning about the many clubs and activities UW has to offer. However, she didn’t like how crowded the campus was and the amount of traffic the area has. After visiting UW, the students went to Pike’s Place market where they explored for a couple hours, including making stops at the first Starbucks café, and the gum wall, which Veanna said was, “Gross!” The day ended with pizza at the hotel, fun ice-breakers, and leadership exercises.

The second day, all the students met up for breakfast and got ready for a full day ahead. The first stop of the day was the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington. The students toured the campus, attended an informational session, and had lunch on campus. Veanna really enjoyed this campus and said it was her favorite in the Seattle area. She really liked their large Liberal Arts program but was a little disappointed with their lack of a Veterinary program, which is what she would like to study in college. The second stop of the day led the group to Bellingham, Washington, where they visited Western Washington University and enjoyed a campus tour. Veanna said the campus was really nice and a fun place that she thought many students would enjoy for their college experience.  The day ended with dinner at the Hard Rock Café on Pike Street. Veanna said the dinner was very fun and she enjoyed spending time with new friends she had made in the group.

The last day of the trip the group headed out of Seattle and began the trek back to the Tri-Cities, but not before a final stop in Ellensburg, Washington for a tour, lunch, and admissions presentation at Central Washington University. “Central was my favorite college I have ever visited!” said Veanna. She loved that the students were so friendly and energetic and her absolute favorite thing about the university was that it has a pre-veterinary program. 

Overall Veanna said she really enjoyed the program, spending time in Seattle and visiting the different campuses and urges more students to participate in GEAR UP provided trips so they can have more college exposure and are more prepared when deciding what they want to do after high school.

Finley GEAR UP is glad Veanna enjoyed her trip and took it as an opportunity to plan for a successful future.

CBSS GEAR UP: Spotlight On The Students – Kandice Olsen

Kandice OlsenKandice Olsen is a senior at Columbia Basin Secondary School this year. She is well on her way to graduating, is ahead in most of her classes, and has been involved in GEAR UP every year since the sixth grade. She has been considering her options for a post-secondary school and has been preparing for it by applying for scholarships; although, she is still not sure whether she wants to take a year off after high school, or go straight to college. She feels that GEAR UP has helped make her more diligent, more committed to goals, and it has given her more knowledge about the college experience.

Though finding financial aid can be difficult, Kandice has found that GEAR UP has prepared her for it. She has the recommendations she needs for scholarships, she is very committed to attending college, and she is hoping to major in both Welding and Automotive. Kandice says that GEAR UP got her to apply for more online scholarships even in her free time. It helped give her have a more “go-get-‘em” attitude.

It has been difficult for Kandice this year to keep up with the expectations for senior students. “Everything is back to back with grades and classes!” She says there is no room for errors, and that she has to really be on the ball and be reliable, to the point that she knows that even missing a single day would jeopardize her grades.

Kandice feels that GEAR UP has helped her on a more personal level over the last few years, as well. She says that her attitude has improved greatly. Before this year, she said she was very un-motivated, but this year she is determined to be more focused and do better in every single class. She pushes herself to be on time every day and to go above and beyond. Kandice also said that she is striving to keep her family’s knack for being able to come out on top going strong.

Before, where she used to struggle in English and Typing, Kandice is now doing well because GEAR UP taught her to use her resources and to keep old materials around to reference. She said that she used to hate typing, but now she actually likes it because is a more permanent way to get her creativity and ideas out.

Kandice is a hardworking student, and we have been glad to work with her. She has been a very positive influence on her peers and encouraged others to prepare for college as well. Good luck on your future endeavors, Kandice, and thank you for being a part of CBSS GEAR UP!

Moses Lake GEAR UP Expands their Horizons

On March 15th this year, an all girl group of GEAR UP students (from CBSS, FMS, and CMMS) attended an event at Seattle University called Expanding Your Horizons. The workshops were amazingly varied in range from repairing laptops to cultivating plants. No matter how strange the method (some girls mentioned constructing a building with spaghetti and paper clips), each workshop had an important and interesting message to convey.

Many students took the experience to a new level of personal growth. One student explained that a workshop she had opened her eyes to the possibilities of females choosing a career in science. Since she enjoyed the labs, there is a possibility that she may very seriously choose science as her own career path. Another student commented on how impressed she was with “how many other careers there are to choose from,” and she was quite surprised at how much information from the workshop she could use in her own home. There was one student who said this trip made her think harder about her future, and yet another student was stunned at the amount of new things she experienced (including making a new friend).

This experience had multiple layers of educational properties. While everyone gained more education, and some gained in personal growth, there were several who learned more about life after high school. Many students said this trip really opened their eyes to life at a post-secondary school, and in many cases their position on attending had greatly improved by the end of the trip. As one student said, “It’s an amazing school.” The students all got a tour of the campus and saw for themselves that the campus wasn’t difficult to navigate, and the University offered so many benefits and classes that each of them found something to suit their interests. Even when the unexpected occurred (a stuck elevator), everyone was patient and handled it with the utmost maturity. In-fact the situation was resolved in a matter of minutes.

Our trip facilitator, Jen Ruiz, reminisced when we returned: “I think this was a great opportunity for these young ladies to get together and focus on learning how to create a successful future for themselves.”  There were a total of 32 GEAR UP students, and the feedback from the exit surveys was remarkably positive. When asked what they learned, there was not a single student who didn’t get something beneficial out of this trip, nor was there a single negative review of the trip. This was an impressive life experience for everyone, and we are all grateful for the opportunity. Thank you, GEAR UP and staff for all of your efforts, and thank you to all of the students for learning and growing so much and for letting us be there to see it.

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  3. Prescott 8th Grade GEAR UP Students Attend College Planning Day
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  5. River View Juniors Attend College Planning Day
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