Welcome to WSU Early Outreach
As part of the Clarkston GEAR UP career exploration program, 179 Clarkston High School juniors took the ASVAB on October 15th, 2015. The ASVAB exam provides students with individualized results to optimize career exploration. Dr. Steven Cook led hour-long ASVAB results interpretation classes on November 18th, 2015 for all participating juniors.
Students were given the opportunity to use their results and an online interest inventory for in depth career exploration and planning. Many students expressed appreciation for the interpretation of their results to help further their research into a potential career pathway. The ASVAB was provided at no-cost to the students. Thank you, Clarkston High School, for allowing the Class of 2017 to complete this great opportunity!
On October 14th Southridge High School 10th & 11th grade students took the PSAT. GEAR UP paid for the 10th Grade students to take the PSAT and Southridge High School paid for 11th grade students. GEAR UP at Southridge held a huge advertising campaign to get students to take the PSAT, because 10th grade students at Southridge are not required to take the PSAT.
GEAR UP Student Ambassadors headed the advertising campaign. They came up with ideas & helped advertise. They put up flyers, manned a sign up table at lunch, and made morning announcements. They also recruited their friends and classmates to take the PSAT. GEAR UP staff made classroom visits to announce the PSAT and signed students up. They also contacted parents by phone and email to talk to parents about the PSAT and why it is important.
We don’t just want our students to take the PSAT; we want them to succeed with the PSAT. We held two prep session in addition to our week long PSAT
Prep Summer Camp to prepare students. The prep sessions were 2.5 hours long and took place on early release days. Students tried questions on the official released redesigned PSAT Practice test. They also learned the types of questions and strategies for each type. Each session was full of students motivated to improve their PSAT score.
GEAR UP at Southridge is pleased that so many students took the PSAT and that we could assist them as they did so. It shows our students’ desire to be college ready.
September 21st marked the first day of National GEAR UP Week and Southridge High School was ready to celebrate! We started off the week with our Dream Wall on Monday. GEAR UP was set up in front of a bulletin board in the main hallway during lunch in hopes that Southridge students would share their dreams and future plans with the rest of the school by writing on a cloud that would be posted to the board. They did not disappoint! By the end of the lunch period we were happily surprised to find that every inch of the bulletin board was covered with dream clouds.
Some students wrote both college and career dreams such as, ‘I want to go to UW and be an FBI Profiler‘, ‘Pennsylvania State University to study International Business’, ‘Attend WSU to be an X-Ray Technician’ and ‘Go to University of Idaho for Architecture’. Other clouds covered the board with dream careers such as dental hygienist, anthropologist, pilot, pediatrician, anesthesiologist, cardiologist, lawyer and marine biologist. Colleges like University of Oregon, Alabama State, Washington State University, Arizona State University, Stanford and the University of Washington were all represented on the dream clouds by students who were unsure of a career, but knew the college they’d like to attend. It’s safe to say our Southridge students are full of goals and dreams that they work at achieving every day!
Tuesday was College T-Shirt Day. Students and staff were asked to come to school wearing any and all college apparel that they may have to show their college pride! Freshman and seniors battled sophomores and juniors for Spirit Points and sophomores and juniors came out on top for this competition. GEAR UP upped the stakes this year and held classroom competitions as well. Our GEAR UP ambassadors counted all college apparel wearers in 2nd period classes. The 2nd period class with the highest average of students wearing college apparel won a doughnut party. First place this year was won by Mrs. Stiles’ leadership class!
I heart GEAR UP day was next and included a photo op during lunch on Wednesday! Students and staff showed their love to the GEAR UP program by posing in our photo booth that was made by GEAR UP ambassadors, with props and signs saying “I love GEAR UP” and “I’m going to college”. It was an event to not be missed! GEAR UP posted all of the photo booth pics to their Twitter page using the I Love GEAR UP hashtag. Pictures with the most likes won a candy bar from GEAR UP and of course bragging rights!
Teachers got to show their competitive side on Thursday for our College Door Competition day! GEAR UP asked teachers to decorate their doors with a college theme of their Alma mater for the chance to win 1st, 2nd or 3rd place or earn the title of ‘Teacher’s Choice’ or ‘Student’s Choice’. On the morning of 9/24 the Southridge halls were filled with college pride as door after door was covered in college colors and decorations like Eastern Eagles, UW huskies, Gonzaga and WSU flags, Idaho Vandals and Brigham Young cougars. GEAR UP staff had the tough job of judging these amazing doors, but win or lose, all teachers were given thank you treats for participating in the competition and helping spread college awareness and pride!
To finish off the week with a bang, GEAR UP took juniors and sophomores on a college campus visit to the University of Washington. Students that earned a high cumulative GPA and showed interest in attending UW were selected to tour this giant campus in Seattle. We were escorted by four UW student ambassadors. They explained what UW had to offer academically as well as the extra-curricular opportunities that were found on and off campus. Students learned about the admissions process and got to ask any questions about the UW college experience. The UW student ambassadors shared their own experiences and obstacles in being accepted to this prestigious college. Southridge students were more than just a little intrigued seeing that two of the four presenting UW ambassadors were Southridge alumni! They were able to relate with our Southridge students and made them feel that a future at the University of Washington was attainable. After lunch on campus at the student HUB, we took a tour of the campus where we got to capture some fun group picture shots that can be found on GEAR UP’ s twitter page.
Saying GEAR UP week was a success is an understatement! Our GEAR UP ambassadors had a blast with helping put together this week of college awareness. Southridge students and staff were amazing at participating and supporting the GEAR UP program with the fun contests and activities. The importance of college awareness was in the air! GEAR UP is already planning on how to make National GEAR UP Week bigger and better for next year and staff and students are still reeling from the week’s events. Keep an eye and ear out for what GEAR UP has in store for the rest of the year!
On Wednesday, October 28, 13 GEAR UP students from Kiona Benton High School along with two cohort parents, Kiona Benton High School Counselor, Belinda Loy, and GEAR UP Site Manager, Alyse Pivovarnik boarded a bus to Eastern Washington University (EWU). Students attending the trip had to have a 1.5 cumulative GPA, be passing all their classes currently, and complete a pre-visit worksheet answering why they wanted to attend, what majors they were interested in at EWU, and questions they still had about college.
Eastern Washington University did an awesome job creating an informative, productive day visit for the participants. Upon arrival, students were greeted by friendly EWU staff and taken on a tour of the campus. Because GEAR UP Site Manager, Alyse Pivovarnik, sent in responses she had received from the pre-visit worksheet to EWU staff in advance, the student tour guide was able to point out some of the buildings and resources KiBe students were specifically interested in. Upon completing the campus tour, students were able to experience dining in Tawanka Hall. Many were nervous about how it all worked, where to sit, and how to return used dishes. They were able to safely learn by doing as they were surrounded by peers and supportive staff.
Stuffed from the all-you-care to eat set-up, students were relieved to be sitting during the latter part of the day. The participants heard about academics and student life at EWU. The cohort parents were able to get their pressing questions answered. This overview of the campus was followed by a student panel. Three EWU students ranging in experiences, majors, years in school, and involvement were present to respond to any burning questions the students had. At first, the questions came slowly, but once the KiBe students started to connect more and more with the current EWU students, it was difficult to end that part of the visit and move on to the personal statement and financial aid presentation. During the break between sessions, several students ignored taking a restroom/ snack break so they could continue the conversation with the EWU students.
KiBe students and parents learned what it takes to write a good personal statement for college admissions as well as scholarship applications. As “How am I going to pay for college?” is one of the most frequent questions that arises, it was important for students and parents to hear from EWU staff how to make college affordable. To end our visit, students went through EWU’s VOCAL lesson. The lesson asks students to evaluate their hopes for higher education, fears of higher education, hopes if they don’t pursue higher education, and fears of not pursuing higher education. One topic that arose in every single category was money-if you don’t pursue higher education, you hope to make money right away, but a fear is that without higher education you don’t make enough money to support yourself and family. Likewise, if you pursue higher education you hope to make more money in your lifetime, but at the same time a fear of higher education is not being able to pay for it. It was important for students to see that no matter which path they choose to follow after high school, money is always a concern. After making their lists, Nathan Marney, EWU Admissions Advisor walked through aspects of a campus students should focus on in making their college decision. The VOCAL acronym stands for Value, Opportunity, Community, Academics, and Location. Although these five items may be arranged in various orders depending on how important they are to a student, these are aspects they should rank when looking at college options.
Alyse Pivovarnik usually tries to fit two campuses into a single day visit due to how far the campuses are from Benton City, but she was very pleased with her decision to focus solely on EWU. The students were more engaged than in previous visits, she had many students attending that had not attended a visit in the previous year, and it was the first time cohort parents had taken her up on the offer to join the visit. Overall, the trip was a huge success for Kiona Benton High School GEAR UP.
In early August, River View High School Junior, Carlos Orozco took a trip to Pullman, WA for the first annual GEAR UP Ambassador Retreat at Washington State University. Carlos was the only student in attendance from Finley, but joined ambassadors from other eastern Washington high schools, including Kamiakin, Chiawana, Ki-Be, Burbank, Connell, and Kennewick High school, among others.
During the retreat, Carlos’ days were filled attending multiple learning sessions. These sessions taught the students how to network with others, team building exercises, communication, & mentoring skills. The sessions helped build the students ability to form positive relationships with peers, employers, and teachers, and become good leaders.
Carlos and the other students stayed in one of WSU’s newest residence halls and were able to meet current students and professors, giving them a very similar experience to being a real college student on campus. As a way to tour the campus the students took part in a fun scavenger hunt that led them to different buildings all across WSU.
As the first student from Finley to attend this trip, Carlos did not know what to expect, but went with a very open mind and ready for a new experience. “If you go into a place and you don’t know anyone you can still have fun.” He also said he learned a lot and would recommend the retreat to other GEAR UP Ambassadors. One main thing he took away from the trip was to never expect anything when meeting a new person, whether it is a fellow student or a future employer, just to talk to them. “I can utilize what I learned to apply for scholarships, get a job, and succeed in college.”
Starting the school year the right way. Students returned to school Sept 1. A few students have decided to join school clubs and be more involved over all. 33 junior and sophomores students had the opportunity to go with GEAR UP to the University of Washington on September 4. The bus departed from Prosser at 4:30 am. The first stop was in Ellensburg were students ate breakfast, then once done we left towards Seattle. Once arriving to UW our tour guide was already expecting us. Students and staff took a tour of the campus. Students were also exposed to basic buildings in where they can get help if need. Once the tour was complete were went into one of the building to get an Admission, financial Aid and a CAMP presentation. Students were asking questions and all departments were answering them. A few of our students are determine in attending UW once they graduate. Students either want to go in the medical field, or into the engineering, science field. Once all the presentations were done we decided to have lunch, what better way for our students to get that college experience and that is by eating in one of the dining areas in the HUB with other college students. In doing this decision staff talked to students that once they attend a university they will most likely be eating in one of these areas and should get a feeling of how it looks and feels to be in one. Once students were done eating lunch we decide to take them to the students store just in case they wanted to purchase anything to take home, after we were finishes looking in the student store, we decide to take the students to the game room for a bit. A few students were interacting with college students and asking them questions on the college life and how it feels to live in dorms. But overall the students enjoyed this experience.
Now that the year has started GSS Ms. Rivera has been connecting with students and making sure all new cohort students know of the program and that were are here to help them. She has also been checking in with students that did APEX this summer and students in general. Her main focus it to have all her students graduate and get a higher education from a university to a technical school. Now time to knock this year right.
Not only was it a busy summer with our cohort students retrieving credits that were lost during the school year, but It was also busy for our GEAR UP mentor Joslyn Felicijan. Joslyn has been a GEAR UP mentor for two years now and has been working with our cohort students in academics and guiding them to do well in school. This summer she received an opportunity of a life time.
Joslyn Felicijan, a senior at PHS attended Girls State in June at Central University. After three days of speeches and open forum questions she was elected to be American Legion Auxiliary US Senator for Washington State and attend Girls State. She also got to represent WA State at Girls Nation in Washington DC in July. Prosser has not had a young lady attend Girl’s Nation in 26 years.
Mr. Kintner a cohort Social Studies teacher from Prosser High School is the liaison for the Evergreen Girls State organization. Joslyn was one of three girls selected from Prosser High School by American Legion Chairmen Glenda Schmidt, President Bev Hood, and President Bill Owens. There was an interview process and an essay to write on Why Girls State Would be Beneficial. Joslyn attended Girls State at Central Washington University the week of June 14-June 20. Evergreen Girls State focuses on city, county, and state government. During the week there were opportunities to participate in the legislative, executive or judicial branch of government, learning how to pass bills and the process of making laws. There were inspirational speakers from various occupations and an opportunity to meet 175 ambitious young women representing high schools from the State of Washington. After three days of speeches and open forum interview questions, Joslyn was voted in by her peers as the American Legion Auxiliary Evergreen Girls State US Senator, to represent WA State at Girls Nation in Washington DC July 25-August 1.
Joslyn was also selected as Supreme Court Judge for Girls Nation 2015. Some of Joslyn’s highlights at ALA Girls Nation were visiting the White House east wing and meeting President Barack Obama.
ALA Girls Nation has provided aspiring young women leader’s firsthand experience with practical insight into how the federal government works. Two participants per state, known as “senators,” are chosen to represent their respective Girls State programs.
A week is spent creating a mock legislature, submitting bills and resolutions, participating in senate sessions, holding a national convention, and electing officials such as president and vice president. Special field trips include visits to the White House, Arlington National Cemetery, monument tours, and a day on Capitol Hill meeting with state senators and representatives. While the event may happen once in a lifetime, the memories made last forever.
When interviewing Joslyn she stated, “I never thought that I would be selected to even attend Girl's State, but I tried and achieved it. I decided at Girl's State to run for WA State US Senator, and I was selected! I was even shocked myself that I was being supported by 176 girls that were strangers and they selected me because I don’t get this much support from most of my classmates. This experience has boosted my confidence and inspired me to believe in myself and that hard work and dedication pays off.” She is ready to start off the year right and make a positive impact on our GEAR UP student’s life’s.