Welcome to WSU Early Outreach
Now that GEAR UP has fully moved into the high school is was time for the GEAR UP room to be moved as well. We are now located in the old ISS room next to the boys bathroom! We spent the first part of the summer moving all of our equipment and decorating our new room to match the GEAR UP spirit. We have our walls lined with pennants from all different colleges. We have a college corner where we have deadlines for applications, SAT's, ACT's and scholarship information. Our tutors or up to date on processes to help students complete all these tasks. We still have our mobile lab where students can come work on projects and tutors are always available to assist in the room! GEAR UP is doing great things at Warden High School!
Southridge High School kicked off GEAR UP Week (September 19-25, 2014) with a scholarship presentation by Kristina Ellis. Kristina, a Vanderbilt University alumna, won over $500,000 in college scholarship money. Her message of ‘make yourself unique’ and ‘scholarship attainability’ resounded with our students. After her presentation, she answered questions from our scholarship-hungry students with specific advice on how they could make themselves better scholarship candidates.
On Monday, Southridge had College T-shirt Day. Lots of WSU and UW shirts made an appearance. Juniors and sophomores rocked College T-shirt Competition with the most shirts. They received 15 spirit points for the class spirit competition.
On Tuesday GEAR UP & Southridge students created a College & Career Dream Wall. Students wrote their dream on clouds, and they were added to a bulletin board in the main hallway. Students’ college dreams include colleges in Washington, such as: University of Washington (UW), Washington State University (WSU), and all over the county, including: Brigham Young University (BYU), Arizona State University (ASU), Princeton University, and Tennessee State University.
Many students had dreams in the field of medicine; dentists, doctors, veterinarians, anesthesiologists, physical therapists. Some students have both college and career dreams. These included ’to graduate from WU and be a vet,’ ‘WSU and be a vet or psychologist,’ ‘a aeronautical engineer and graduate from US naval academy,’ ‘sports medicine at University of Oregon,’ ‘ROTC at OSU,’ ‘psychology at BYU,’ ‘engineering at UW.’ Some students were undecided on college, but they had high flying career plans: a flight nurse, a marine biologist, a human profiler in the FBI, the president of the United States, a forensics scientist, a software engineer, a dermatologist, a zoologist, a photographer, a pilot, an architect, a singer, a professional basketball player, a cosmetologist, a teacher, a detective, an athletic trainer, a marine. Spurred by Kristina Ellis’ Scholarship presentation, some students’ dreams included. One student dreams of getting a full ride scholarship. Some dreams included not just attending college but graduating.
Students showed their love for GEAR UP on Thursday with ‘I love GEAR UP’ Photo Op day! Our GEAR UP Ambassadors made signs and hearts for photo props. They also served as photographers with their phones. Many students posed for photos that they put on twitter with the I Love GEAR UP hashtag. Teachers and even our principal Mr. Biehn got in on the action.
We wrapped up the GEAR UP week on Thursday with a college door decoration competition for teachers. We had several Eastern Washington University Doors, University of Idaho doors, UW doors, and WSU doors, BYU doors. Other college doors included UCLA, WSU-Vancouver, BYU, Whitworth, OSU, West Point, Pacific Lutheran University. One UW door included a skeleton outfitted in ducks regalia. Another door said “It doesn’t matter where U go, what matters is that u go!” The athletic office was decked out in WSU-TC their motto was “when the sun goes down, the cogs come out to play,” as Southridge’s mascot is the sun, it was extra cute.
Southridge’s GEAR UP week was hugely successful! Southridge teachers, students, and staff all participated and shared their college spirit and love of GEAR UP. We increased college awareness and knowledge about GEAR UP here at Southridge. Our GEAR UP Ambassadors enjoyed GEAR UP Week so much, they asked when we are going to do it again.
It’s all about ordering caps and gowns, bringing baby pictures for the year book, choosing colleges, writing essays, applications and waiting for that acceptance letter. Seniors at Dayton High School are GEARing UP toward graduation. One event that started the seniors in their last high school year was freshmen orientation. Five seniors came with words of wisdom from their own experiences and encouraged the freshmen to start thinking now about their life after high school
Senior Haley Puckett said; “Since this is my last year of high school, I am trying to be a part of as many school activities as possible.” Haley has already been accepted into a college. Some seniors are taking more rigorous curriculum trying to get their GPA’s up, while others are taking classes from a community college. It will end all too soon for these seniors and we are glad that they went through AVID classes and the GEAR UP Program, which is helping them make the choices they need to make. In January, GEAR UP is planning a FAFSA night for seniors and parents to learn about filing the FAFSA for financial aid to colleges.
On November 21st, Finley GEAR UP took 38 River View High School 10th and 12th graders on a trip to visit Eastern Washington University in Cheney, WA. Only a handful of students had been to EWU in the past so it was a new experience for most in the group. Also in attendance were 5 GEAR UP tutors, RVHS English teacher Tyler Hogg, and Finley GEAR UP Site Manager Amandalyn Rubio.
The packed bus arrived at Eastern around 9am and soon began the first activity of the day. The students were split by grade and each group was taken on a tour of the campus. A highlight of the tours included a stop at the Pence Union Building, which serves as the community center for EWU containing dining services, the campus bookstore, computer labs, and meeting rooms. Other highlights included the University Recreation Center, Roos Field, and the JFK Library.
Both tours ended at Senior Hall where the second activity took place, an Admissions Presentation and Student Panel Q & A. The admissions presentation gave the students great information about EWU, including the process of applying and enrolling at the school, what kind of programs are offered, and the cost of attending. During the student panel the River View students learned more about the campus from a different perspective. The panel talked to the students about making their own schedules, being in clubs, different sports offered and fun things to do on campus and in the Cheney and Spokane area. At the end of the session the RVHS students also heard from Aaron McGaughey, RVHS Alumni and current junior at EWU. It is always exciting for the students to see alumni from back home doing well in college.
After the admissions presentation, the students headed to Tawanka Commons where they sat down for an all you can eat lunch alongside current EWU students. During this time the students were also able visit the bookstore and a group of students who were interested in engineering were taken on a tour of the Computing and Engineering Building led by Aaron McGaughey, who is currently studying in the Engineering program.
After lunch the group headed back to Senior Hall for their last activity of the day, a Financial Aid presentation from the EWU Financial Aid & Scholarships Coordinator. She talked to the students about the important parts of Financial Aid, including filling out the FAFSA application and understanding the cost of going to college.
Overall the students had a very informative day and seemed thoroughly impressed with the EWU campus, students, and staff. 11 RVHS seniors were so impressed; they intend to apply to EWU this winter! Thank you to everyone who made the trip a success!
“The starting point of all achievement is desire.” In other words, the force behind success is desire. For a senior in high school, desire can sometimes lack: waking up day after day before the sun rises just to go to a place that will only be reality for another year, it’s monotonous and exhausting. I, and my peers alike, sometimes lose sight of the long-term goal. That’s why every week in my AVID class I look forward to Fridays, not just because it is the last day in our weekly prison sentence, but because it is the day we get to listen to a guest speaker.
Nobody knows what it’s like to be me, that’s true, but listening to these speakers gives me hope. They share their stories of trial and triumph, and I go to my next class feeling like I can accomplish anything I want to. The desire is once again alight in me when I see a passionate adult talk about their dreams, their successes and especially their hardships. I thought I had a rough go until Mr. Diaz shared with us the story of his humble beginnings. I thought that I challenged myself until Mrs. Haider exposed us to her life in the Army. Even staff members I already knew, like Mrs. Meyer, were suddenly akin to me; she understood what I was going through, she could empathize with me, and I had no idea until she came to speak in our AVID class.
Though on the surface it seems like a tedious thing, every person has a different story. We high school seniors are indeed on the cusp of the rest of our lives. The scariest thing for us is the fear of the unknown, what lies beyond graduation, what do I do when I wake up the day after the blue caps and gowns are put away? These speakers have done it. They know exactly how we feel and that is something that none of us take for granted. It is an honor to have people who care enough to open themselves up to our class and it remains a key privilege that we AVID students enjoy thoroughly.
Katrina James is a Senior at Walla Walla High School and an AVID student.
Soap Lake HS Freshmen and Sophomores took the PSAT College Entrance Test this fall. Students who take the test are preparing themselves to take the SAT which is the actual college exam for colleges to use when making admission decisions. “Our students take the exam during their 9th, 10th, and 11th grade years in the Fall. When they take the actual SAT test in the Spring of their Junior year, they have seen the practice test three times. GEAR UP supports our students by preparing the students for the test with test-taking skills that will improve their score. “There are a lot of tricks to taking this test” says Site Director, Roger Chamberlain. “There are strategies to use on a multiple choice test that will help their score. Knowing when to guess and when to leave an answer blank will help their score a lot.” GEAR UP also prepares students for the test by providing vocabulary words to Soap Lake English classes. There are also reading strategies that will assist in scoring well on the test.
GEAR UP supports our students in preparing for college work. Preparing them for the SAT exam is only one of the things GEAR UP offers to support Soap Lake students.
Soap Lake High School and GEAR UP will hold two FAFSA and Financial Aid Nights in January. All seniors are to be in attendance for information on college financial aid. On January 12, Soap Lake will hold an informational night for FAFSA and college scholarships. A special speaker will be in attendance and answer all questions about financial aid. “We are working with seniors and parents to ensure all seniors have their PIN number by the January 12 meeting” says GEAR UP Site Director, Roger Chamberlain. “Our meeting on the 12th will focus on all financial aid including scholarships. We will also assist anyone who would like to work on the FAFSA in our computer lab.”
January 29th will be focused strictly on completing the FAFSA. Anyone who has not completed it is encouraged to attend. Soap Lake High School has several good resource people who can assist in completion of the online form. GEAR UP’s computer lab will be open for use.
“This is a great opportunity for students and parents to take this big step in college financial assistance. We encourage all to attend.”