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

Welcome to WSU Early Outreach

June at Prosser High

June has definitely been a busy month for our 9th graders. The last day of school was June 6th; a few of our students were finishing up finals while others were finishing up big projects and presentations for their class. All the students were excited to finally be able to take a long break from school. A few students will be traveling to sports camps or traveling out of town to visit family. Other students will be working this summer as well.

On June 10 we took 33 students to Eastern Washington University and to Spokane Falls Community College. The first stop was Eastern Washington University. Students were able to take a campus tour once we got there. After the campus tour students were taken to a student panel where a person from admissions was awaiting with a current student on campus. The admission personnel talked about the steps for getting admitted to EWU, Financial Aid, Scholarships, sport scholarships, work study, study abroad, intermural sports, the different types of clubs on campus, and where you can go to get help and tutoring support as well. One student had questions on why it is important to do well in high school and the admission personnel explained the things they look for in the application process. The student presenter talked about her experience and gave students a few do’s and don’ts.  Once the presentation was finished, students were taken to the dining area to have lunch. Following lunch, students loaded on to the bus to leave to Spokane Falls Community College.  

While arriving to Spokane Falls Community College our tour guides were waiting for us outside of the Admission building which is also known as the Student Union Building. Students were given a SFCC bag with information on the types of programs offered and the application for admission. The students took a campus tour; they also visited the math and the science department. Once the campus tour was done students were taken back to the Student Union Building for a presentation. In the presentation the presenter talked about the admission process, financial aid, different types of scholarships, sport scholarship’s, child care, different types of student services and organizations, and types of programs they offer. They also learned the difference between a community college and a 4 year university.  Students were able to understand that if they didn’t want to go straight to a University they have the option of going to a  community college to get an Associates in Arts, Associates in Fine Arts, Associates in Science Transfer, Associates in Applied Science, or a Direct Transfer.

Overall the students were exposed to both Colleges, which they know are both different but they provided a lot of student support, financial aid, and scholarships that can be available if they decide to choose one or the other.

Summer School sessions have begun. Summer school started June 16 and will run all the way to July 2. This year summer school offered an Algebra/ Geometry class, and also Washington State History. A lot of the students that are coming to the Algebra/Geometry classes were referred by their 8th / 9th grade math teachers. These students need a little more help in understanding and what a great way to get the extra one on one help. In the Washington State History class a few of our cohort students were able to get their credit either in middle school or their freshman year in high school so now some are taking it. So many students are doing summer school to get ahead or retake a class they need to graduate on time.

Another great event that took place in June was the 4-H Teen Conference. Prosser took a total of fourteen 8th and 9th grade students to this event. It took place in WSU Pullman June 22-24. This was the first time Prosser GEAR UP took students to this conference and it was also the first time for many of our students to be away from home. But overall it was a great experience for our students. They were exposed to the campus, took a campus tour, saw dorm life as a freshman, ate at one of the dining areas, met students from the state of Washington, did group challenges, met diverse guest speakers, and explored a few different workshops. A few of the workshops that students went to were Robots to the Rescue, Improv your way through life, make it count! High School and Beyond, Warp and Weft: An introduction to weaving, self-defense skills, teamwork for success and there’s always more to learn.  Students also had an opportunity to meet a few college representatives. Our students were able to network and bond with students their age. Our students enjoyed the conference and are interested in attending next year as well. GEAR UP is exposing students to a higher education and making a positive impact on their life.

This month  the GEAR UP staff have been transitioning from the middle school to the high school, which means that we are excited to finally have both grade levels under one roof and won’t be dealing with the split. We are pleased and excited to see what PHS has to offer for our students now that WSU GEAR UP will be on site.  A few GEAR UP staff members have been moving boxes and equipment to our new home at Prosser High School. This has been a long ride but we are so glad to finally be with both our cohorts. 

"It's Decision Time" for Columbia Students

4H Teen ConferenceThree Columbia GEAR UP students had the wonderful opportunity to travel to WSU to attend the 4H Teen Conference. They were able to interact, strategize and learn about themselves with over 350 other delegates from around the state.

While there, they attended four sessions on various topics, ranging from physical fitness and what key it plays in being successful in college to learning about their leadership styles. The three days were packed with team building activities, guest motivational speakers, a college and career day, a texting and driving seminar and of course lots of fun!

This year’s theme was, It’s Decision Time.  The kids learned that it’s decision time when it comes to their future.  Now is when they need to be looking towards their future and the work that needs to be done to make it a success.  This conference gave them the tools to build the foundation of their future, with not only knowledge and education but with leadership, caring and apathy for others and their world. 

4H Teen ConferenceMotivational speaker, Houston Kraft, was a highlight of the trip.  Houston spoke of the different types of love and how they apply to your daily life.  His message is regardless of what you choose to do in life or what you fear, always choose love.  Love of yourself, your world, your family, your friends and most importantly the “love” you show those you just meet.  Choosing to show those who you do not know love, impacts their lives in ways we may never see. “While we can’t choose how we feel, we can choose how we act. While our everyday words and actions may seem small, their impact can be tremendous.” (www.houstonkraft.com)  Houston’s message of also conquering your fears, especially when it comes to college is a powerful thing.  Not letting your fears dominate your life and understanding fear is a feeling and love is a choice was his main message to the delegates.  Always choose love.

CHS student, Michelle Maine said, “My favorite part of the trip was getting to learn about different college courses and though I may choose one field, it’s never too late to tweak it or improve upon it.”  Reece Humphreys said, “Houston Kraft was the best motivational speaker I have ever heard.”  Jade Bohannon echoed both Reece and Michelle but added that making new friends from all over the state was her favorite part.  All three students gave it an 8 on a scale of 1-10 and when asked why not a 10, they all said because it wasn’t long enough and it had to end!

Amazing Agricultural Career Showcase at Ki-Be High School

GEAR UP students at Kiona-Benton High School spent the first week of their summer break learning about agricultural sciences and potential career paths that require a four year degree. GEAR UP brought guest speakers from the community to speak to the students about their careers including Andrew Schultz, a vineyard manager, and Sergeant Brian Fulton, an officer with the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Schultz talked to the students about his experience managing a vineyard. Students listened to Schultz’s day to day operation, his educational background, and types of products his crops are used for.

agFulton described his experiences working for a government agency and how he started with the Department of Fish and Wildlife. Students were captivated by the environment Fulton worked in and how hands on his job is.

On the second day, GEAR UP provided the students  an opportunity to further explore the field of agriculture by creating a PowerPoint presentation on a topic of their choice within the agricultural field. The most exciting part of the GEAR UP career academy was visiting Washington State University Tri-Cities and the University of Idaho.

At WSU, students hung out in the BSEL greenhouse and listened to WSU advisors talk about their new and up and coming viticulture program. WSU also gave students the opportunity to pot plants and have hands-on experience of what this major was all about.

At the University of Idaho, students enjoyed an all you care to eat lunch in the diningag commons followed by a tour of the campus and a presentation by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.  Students visited the entomology classroom filled with insects—alive and preserved.  Students were careful not to lean on the cupboards around them as they might squish a live critter roaming around the room freely.  Several students who were brave enough even got to hold a tarantula! 

Upon returning to Ki-Be, students shared their presentations with one another over pizza.  Thanks to GEAR UP, students reported enjoying the college visit because of the hands on activities and they think others would benefit from it as well!

Clarkston AVID Gives Back!

The 2017 AVID at Clarkston High School has gotten to take many field trips helping to prepare and motivate them for post-secondary education but on June 2nd they took a different type of a trip sponsored by WSU GEAR UP, this one was good for the soul. At 8:00am the 25 AVID students and 3 student supervisors including Lead Tutor, Jane Ann Brewer, and GEAR UP/AVID tutors Cherie Wormell and Cheryl Hoffman, loaded the bus for the Ronald McDonald House in Spokane, WA. The AVID class did a few service projects throughout the year and decided that they wanted to do something extra special for their last one. The Ronald McDonald House is essentially a "hotel" for families who have children receiving care from Sacred Heart Children's Hospital. Some of these kids are in and out for treatments staying at the house with their families while others stay in the hospital and the families at the house. The staff at the Ronald McDonald House was more than willing to have 28 volunteers come for a few hours!

Upon arrival the kids learned the basics of the house and then split up into three groups; one spread out through the house with Lysol wipes to clean everything in sight, the second headed outside to pull weeds and clean up any messes or garbage, and the third congregated in the dining room to start decorating 100 cupcakes that were donated by one of the girl's mom. After 30 minutes the groups rotated so that everyone got a chance to help in each of the three areas. After everything was cleaned and the cupcakes were decorated everyone gathered in the "living room" to hear from one of the house's managers. She explained how this small act of kindness by the 2017 AVID class was vital to the success of the house and how different projects can stem from their visit. Projects like this are so beneficial to students, even though it didn't relate to academics it helps them to become well-rounded individuals who understand that giving back is vital as well as benefiting them as a resume builder. Great job to the Clarkston 2017 AVID class!

$4.7 Million in Scholarships for Clarkston's Class of 2014!

It is always impressive to hear the total scholarship amount a class receives when graduation time comes round, but this year at Clarkston High School, it is more than impressive – it’s outstanding! Almost half the class reported receiving scholarships from various colleges and institutions in the amount of 4.7 million! This more than quadruples the amount received by the graduating class of Clarkston 10 years ago at 1.1 million. This is also just the amount that was reported, I’m sure there were many more seniors that simply didn’t take the time to fill out the scholarship form. This amount includes many academic awards from different colleges and universities, local committees and memorial scholarships, the Washington College Bound Scholarship as well as eight athletic scholarships to schools in Washington, Idaho and Oregon. While most students received between one and three scholarships, some of the valedictorians received as many as 14 scholarships each! Obviously some of these scholarships will not be used since they may have received offers from multiple colleges and universities and will only be attending one. These scholarships were celebrated at a WSU GEAR UP sponsored awards night were students were recognized individually for each of the scholarships they received. Great job raking in the dough Clarkston’s class of 2014, you are on your way to a successful future!

Frontier's HOH III students visit EWU

On Monday June 2nd, over two-hundred Frontier MS eighth-graders participated in a grand event to tour Eastern Washington University in Cheney. Once on the University campus, the six bus-loads of students combined into one large group.  We all assembled together to grab some lunch in the rather luxurious cafeteria. Many students were pleasantly surprised by the sophisticated style of this University’s local eatery. After some fine dining (of which they had a large selection of choices including a wide array of desserts), some ambient music and lighting, and an automated dish retrieval system that was surprisingly convenient, we divided up into three pre-designated main groups. The students were so impressed at the high class nature of the establishment that it actually boosted their esteem.

Each group was able to experience two of the available three events. One event was a seminar, directed by an admissions officer of the school, explaining and answering questions regarding college in general and some specific information about EWU. For example, at EWU, since it is a nationally proven statistic that freshmen living on campus score higher, all freshmen from this university are required to live on campus for the first year. Informative brochures about the University were passed out to all of the students, but there was also an active capturing of the students’ attention by handing out wrist bands to those who participated in the conversation.

Another event was the guided tour. Many students from Frontier commented on how interesting the student ambassadors from the University were and how much they gained from these tours. We walked around the campus and heard many amazing facts about the buildings as well as what life on campus is like. For example, located near the center of the campus is a former school house with a bell on top, and two doors, with entrances for both males and females (it was inappropriate in the 1800’s for men and women to remove their coats in front of each other, so they would enter into a coat room and proceed to the collective classroom).

The third event was the scavenger hunt tour, and out of all of the events, this is the one our students seemed to prefer the most. It was a fun way to show off EWU’s campus and at the same time it required the students to stop and think a little bit about what they were looking for.

This was a beautiful campus, and the advocates did an amazing job of clearly explaining and demonstrating it. Unfortunately, EWU was preparing for graduation, so we were unable to spend more time there. Most students and staff said they would have loved to see and hear more. If only we could have spent the whole day there, but we hope it inspires some of the students to return for an entire degree’s worth of time later on. Thank you to all of the staff, thank you GEAR UP, and thank you students for making this final trip of the year go so well. Have a wonderful summer!

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