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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.

Chief Moses Students Tour The West Side

Just a few days after 8th grade Career Day at Big Bend Community College, 8th grade students from Chief Moses Middle School got to experience schools on the west side of Washington State. Students were most definitely excited to visit the University of Washington, where students were led on a tour of the campus, followed by an admissions presentation. "This trip totally persuaded me to attend the University of Washington!," said GEAR UP student Giselle Farias

Following the visit to the University of Washington, Chief Moses MS students headed to Seattle Central Community College to experience a campus right in the middle of Seattle. Students were amazed at the difference between the two schools. At Seattle Central Community College, students participated in a question and answer panel with current students at this college, and then were given a tour of the campus. 

To end the day, students visited the Seattle Art Museum, where they each picked out one piece of art to write an essay about when they got back to school. One of the students favorite pieces was a large mouse, pictured above. 

Students were inspired to reach their goals, and pursue their dreams after their visit to Seattle, and Chief Moses MS thanks GEAR UP for the wonderful opportunity! 

River View High School Pre-Calculus Students Attend UW's 24th Annual Math Day

Juniors from Mr. Eisenbarth’s pre-calculus class eagerly committed to participate in UW’s Math Day-a first for the school as well as GEAR UP. Math Day was started by a former active professor of the school who wanted to encourage advanced math students to keep taking math in high school as well as in college. That professor still does presentations for the event and helps in planning all through volunteer time.

Math Day is structured around 3 concurrent sessions. Students self-select workshops they wish to learn more about. There are also campus tours or hands on activities that occur as the same time as those sessions and students may attend these if they have a “ticket.” Examples of these campus tours or activities were: computer science & engineering tour, planetarium, seismology lab, SAGE computer lab, what makes boomerangs come back, and many more!

Finley GEAR UP arranged for students to depart from River View parking lot at 4:30am. GEAR UP site manager, 1 math tutor, and 1 River View math teacher accompanied students to UW. Finley’s group arrived about 15 minutes before the plenary address in Meany Hall: To Infinity and Beyond! Presented by Max Lieblich. Max did a great job of engaging students and really drawing them into his lecture about infinity and number sequencing. Students were dismissed to attend their concurrent sessions (students from River View went into A Glimpse into the Sixth Dimension or What is the Title of This Talk? For session I., Making a Thermin out of 3am Radios & Some Trigonometry or Mathematics Inspired by Origami for session II., and Autocorrect Fail: the Math Behind Why Smart Phones do Silly Things or Mysteries of Mathematical Measurement for session III.) or campus tours. All students were given a one hour on your own lunch break. UW was on spring break but it was hard to tell with all of the activity in the quad, people getting their pictures taken by the blossoming trees, tourists, and of course the 1500 Math Day students meandering and enjoying the beautiful campus while eating their lunches.

Students buzzed about their experiences at UW both with the event and their impression of the college. Finley GEAR UP would like to give special thanks to Sherri Nielsen-Hazard, who organized and registered all the groups. The event went off without a hitch and it is because of careful attention to all details and open communication with group leaders that occurred for several weeks prior to the event. Also, thank you to all of the UW volunteers that helped guide and make campus visitors feel welcome!

Prescott 8th Grade GEAR UP Students Attend College Planning Day

On Friday, February 28, 2014, nineteen 8th graders, outfitted in Prescott GEAR UP tee shirts, boarded a bus and headed to the 8th Grade Career Day at Columbia Basin College.  “This was a great event for this age group,” said Scott Branson, Prescott GEAR UP Site Manager, “It gets them interested in careers, and they need to be thinking about it.”

Kyle Morton, an 8th grader who is fairly new to Prescott, was excited about visiting the college campus.  “That’s where I want to go when I graduate.” he said.  He also mentioned that he enjoyed the presentation made by a police officer, but was disappointed that there wasn’t any information about a military career.  The kids assembled before the sessions to hear a key note speaker, a professor from WSU, explain how his own career evolved.  After that, the students could attend three sessions, with lunch in between.  Luiz Cruz and Ricardo Flores both attended the science presentation.  Both were impressed and liked the hands-on element of the experiment they did while in the session.  Luiz also attended sessions for mechanical engineering and nursing.  Both Ricardo and Luiz hope to be dentists in the future.  Eridany Reyes, who wants to pursue education, was especially fascinated by the art presentation.  “There was just so much to see!” she said of all the pieces displayed.  Eridany also mentioned that out of all the GEAR UP trips she has been on, she liked this one the best. 

The hope is that exposure to many different careers will spark curiosity and deliver perspective for students who may not have knowledge of certain careers that could be options for them.  Offering this exposure before high school will hopefully inspire students to work hard during their high school career to maximize their potential. 

River View GEAR UP Sends Two Seniors to Future Cougars of Color for the First Time!

River View High School and GEAR UP are proud to announce that two River View Seniors, Joshua Hills and Chance Simpson, received the Future Cougars of Color Scholarship and attended the two day program at Washington State University in Pullman, March 14-15, 2014.

The Future Cougars of Color Program gives incoming freshman a unique opportunity to receive a renewable $1,000 WSU Scholarship for a total of 4 years and it allows students to see first-hand all that WSU has to offer. Students receive: guided tours of the campus, attend information sessions on financial aid, other scholarships, student support resources, and selected academic programs. Students also have the opportunity to enjoy university facilities such as the student union building (which included the student bookstore, game consoles, and places to eat), and the award-winning Student Recreation Center (SRC). In addition, the university provides transportation, meals and overnight hotel accommodations to all the students that attend.

The students’ experience began early morning on Friday March 14th. Both students arrived at 9:00am at Chiawana High School in Pasco to be picked up by a WSU chartered bus. Upon arrival to campus, students were taken to the Compton Union Building (CUB) where they were placed in alphabetical order by last name and formed an enormous line. Chance Simpson mentioned that there were about 1500 students in line waiting to sign-in. As students signed-in they received a WSU draw string bag, a water bottle and a t-shirt along with an access pass card. After checking in, students were taken to the Hillside Café to have lunch. Joshua noticed that the price of the food was reasonable and also learned that if students use their Cougar Card they receive an additional discount on their meals.

After lunch, students were placed into small groups and were escorted the remainder of the day to perform various team building activities, attend sessions, explore campus and visit several residence halls. Both Chance and Joshua fell in love with one of the newest residence halls, Olympia Avenue, located on the south side of campus. Both were more than convinced that they want to live there this fall and be roommates so they immediately signed-up. Students had the opportunity to experience the unique academic environment by attending an academic session for a first-hand look of their area of interest. Students learned about their specific major, program requirements, and basic classes needed to complete their degree. Chance attended the athletic training session, while Joshua attended the computer and engineering session where he learned how to use a computer program to make a Lego car move around. On the second day of the program, students attended three different workshops. The workshops provided detailed information on various topics, housing, financial aid, campus involvement, intramural sports, Greek life, student life, and many more.

At the end of the night students had the honor of attending an amazing dinner reception held at the CUB Senior Ballroom where they had the pleasure of hearing hilarious jokes from comedian and actor Valente Rodriguez (cast member of the George Lopez show). “Everything seemed like a five star restaurant and the catering was amazing,” stated Chance Simpson. After dinner, students were taken to the SRC where they had more than an hour of free time to do almost anything they wished from playing basketball to rock climbing and swimming or simply relaxing and enjoying the big-screen TV.

As soon as both Chance and Joshua arrived to school on Monday morning, they were eager to tell GEAR UP staff everything about their extraordinary experience. “Being there was incredible! I would definitely do it again!” stated Chance. When students were asked to share their favorite thing about this experience, both students had different responses. Joshua stated, “Staying at the SRC was the best” and Chance stated, “Learning about my major and knowing that my classes would not interfere or affect my ROTC schedule.”

River View High School GEAR UP is very proud and excited for these two students. They have worked very hard in filling out every scholarship opportunity and continue to do so. GEAR UP wishes them the best of luck!

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