Welcome to WSU Early Outreach
Kiona-Benton GEAR UP partnered with Tri-Tech to take students to their open house event on January 29, 2015. At the event, students heard from Tri-Tech professionals about the various courses offered. Students also had a chance to meet with various colleges, STEM career professionals, and technical career professionals.
One unique opportunity students heard about was the internship and career pathways Bonneville Power Administration had to offer. Bonneville Power Administration is a federal, nonprofit agency that wholesales electrical power generated from different hydro projects (dams). The representative talked to our students about the increasing demand for engineers, accountants, information technology specialists, and fish and wildlife conservation specialists.
Another unique program students heard about was the company, Areva. Areva is a world leader in nuclear power and is based in Richland, WA. The representatives explained their job duties and answered all the various questions our students had.
Walla Walla Community College was on hand and explained in detail their John Deere and Diesel Technology programs. In partnership, the company RDO Equipment was on hand to explain how they hire new graduates coming from both of those programs. RDO Equipment also talked to students about tuition reimbursement once they are hired for their company.
All branches of the military were there to answer questions about the ROTC program and how students can use the military to earn their degree.
The Tri-Tech open house event also offered hands on experience for students. Ki-Be students explored construction trades and even got to work with some power tools under the supervision of other Tri-Tech students.
Overall, the event was a wonderful showcase of Tri-Tech’s programs and different career pathways the region has to offer.
As the seniors’ deadlines and “to-do-lists” are being completed, Katie Thompson is ahead of the game. She has been accepted to Eastern Washington University in Cheney Washington. Her plan will include transferring to the Washington State University Extension in Spokane to begin the nursing program. GEAR UP site manager, Spring Wessels, had been helping Katie the last couple months with paperwork for her FAFSA student aid, scholarships, and college application. She conveyed deep appreciation for Spring and the help she received through the GEAR UP program.
Katie also accredited Dayton GEAR UP for her inspiration in pursuing a higher education. During her involvement with GEAR UP, she attended almost every event GEAR UP offered since 7th grade. She smiled as she thought about the time she attended a college football game during one of those events.It was during a college trip when she decided she CAN and SHOULD go to college, and her dream began.
Katie is an example what GEAR UP students can do when they put forth the effort. She reflects the effects of what can be accomplished in an educational setting. We are very proud of Katie and her accomplishments. Katie states, “Having taken College Readiness Class will help me make the transition from a high school student to a college student, and I am excited and confident I will succeed.”
Forty three (43) sophomores at Clarkston High School (CHS) participated in the EOC winter retakes January 27th and 29th. Passing the EOC exams is a graduation requirement for students in Washington State.In collaboration with the CHS math department, WSU GEAR UP tutors, Cheryl Hoffman, Tristan Anderson, and Cherie Wormell provided tutoring support before and after school and during EOC prep classes for two-weeks leading up to the testing dates.Tutors led small group study sessions during EOC prep classes, assisting students as they worked through practice problems.Students in need of individualized support sought tutoring before and after school in addition to attending the EOC prep classes. The students did a great job preparing for this important exam. We anticipate that they all did very well.
As seniors are getting prepared to transfer from high school to college, Finley GEAR UP had the pleasure of helping students apply for FAFSA student aid on January 21, 2015. GEAR UP hosted a Senior Resource Night that helped seniors with completing their FAFSA applications and searching for scholarships. The event started at 4 pm and helped students who dropped by until 7 pm. There was also a College Bound Scholarship presentation for our College Bound students. For students who successfully submitted their Financial Aid applications, GEAR UP gave away college prizes and Jack in the Box taco coupons. Along with those prizes GEAR UP provided students with WELLS FARGO workbooks that included a calendar, important tips, and paper.
Around this time for seniors in high school, deadlines begin to appear and their main focus is graduating in order to successfully move onto college. A lot of our students have expressed how excited they are to begin this next chapter in their lives. Before our event this night I do recall witnessing a couple of underclassmen ask if thinking about college in ninth grade is too soon. Site Manager, Amandalyn Rubio, showed great enthusiasm by replying that of course it was not. Seeing ninth graders ask about college is not only impressive but also uplifting. In most cases, students do not seem to worry about college until their senior year of high school, so seeing this early on is great.
Along with early interest in college, this night was filled with lots of important questions that were all answered with the help of all our staff and guests. We had Jordyn Wright, Financial Aid Counselor, and Kristy Phillips that represent Washington State University Tri-Cities, JR Gomez who represents WSU Pullman, Lakeisha Jones who recruits for Eastern Washington University, PSE Scholarship representatives Tabitha Smith and Kathy Taggert, Teresa Santoy who is from College Bound Scholarship, Rebekah Duty, River View High School’s guidance counselor, GEAR UP ambassadors: Richard Parra and Carlos Orozco, College Bound scholar Kassandra Rojas, and of course the friendly staff at GEAR UP. We also could not have had this event without our collaboration with River View High School Principal, Bryan Long and also with our sponsorship from PEPSI.
On January 16, 2015 the GEAR UP 9th grade cohort took a trip to the REACH museum in Richland, Washington. The REACH celebrates the natural, scientific, and cultural history of Eastern Washington through programs and exhibits. This trip was a collaboration between GEAR UP and the River View HS Freshman science department. The 9th graders are currently studying soils and local ecology and the activities the students participated in at the museum was a tie in to the AFNR (Agriculture, Food, & Natural Resources) curriculum in their science classroom.
The first activity the students participated in was a scavenger hunt in Gallery I. Gallery I is funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It is 4,000+ sq. ft. and tells the story of the Hanford Reach National Monument and the surrounding region from the basalt flows and Ice Age Floods to the living land and land transformed to today. Gallery I also holds artifacts, including fossils, skeletons, taxidermy, & replica historical items. After a quick tour of the gallery, each student received a scavenger hunt paper. The students had to explore the different sections of the gallery and answer the questions on their paper. Questions included such things as, ‘What is an Indian Onion?” and “What is Eriogonum thymoides?”…some questions were easier to find than others but each group had a great time looking for the answers all around the gallery. The students were also motivated to do well on the scavenger hunt because it was turned in to their science teacher as an assignment.
The second activity the students participated was centered on local plants. The museum had gathered many different types of plants for this activity, including invasive, non-invasive, native, and non-native plants. Plants included were; sage, garbanzo beans, wild rose hips, hemp, and chokeberries, among others. The students were able to use two different kinds of magnifying glasses and microscopes to take a closer look at the plants. They took notes and made drawings describing how each plant looked, smelled, & felt. These notes were made a part of the students’ interactive notebook in their AFNR class.
After the groups had participated in both activities, they had some time to explore the rest of the museum. This included looking at Gallery II, and the rotating Gallery, along with the limited time display put on by the Tri-City Model Railroaders.
The students seemed to really enjoy the day and it was a great educational experience. Thank you to the REACH museum and RVHS science teacher Ms. Yochum for helping put the trip together and making it a success.
GEAR UP is definitely starting the year right. We would like to congratulate our 2015 GEAR UP ambassadors. President Froy Contreras, Vice President Edith Raya, Co-V.P- Enrique Acevedo, Co- Secretary Karla Martinez and Kenia Lugo, Sergeant of Arms Noah Alvarado, Marketing Jesus Acevedo. These students were prepared to give speeches in front of other students as to why they were running for the officer positions. It takes a lot of strength to go up and present to your peers. Each student did a great job. With the New Year it also brought finals. Students were able to study and turn in any missing assignments before the semester was over. Finals took place January 13-16. Some classes had a big test while others had big projects that were due. The semester was over on the 20th of January and second semester began the 21st. Students will either change into new semester class or stay in the same classes for the rest of the year.
PHS hosted Financial Aid night; this was an opportunity to give students and parent’s information on FAFSA. Questions were answered, and students were able to fill out their applications and see the steps it takes to fill it out. Some students did indeed complete their applications will others were missing information and had to finish up the next day.
With the break and coming back to finals GEAR UP has moved to a new office. With the move we decided to promote our new location by doing a “Relocation Bash”. This event took place January 21. Students were able to see our new office and talk about our program. Our student Ambassadors introduced themselves to the rest of their peers that came to this event. First we started with an icebreaker which was the name game. Then from there we went on to another activity. A few students volunteered their time to play a few songs. There was a great turn out, we were only expecting about 10 students but surprised to see more faces. So we did a good job in promoting this event. Overall the students enjoyed the activities, food, and entertainment we provided for them. We are definitely looking forward to what the next month will bring for our students and team.
Upcoming events at Prosser High School are Ambassadors meeting January 28, Tri- Tech visitation January 29, Winterball January 31, Father Daughter Dance Feb 21, and Running Start informational Meeting at 6:30 February 26.
Paying for college is one of the largest and most important investments in one’s lifetime. The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and the WASFA (Washington Application for State Financial Aid) can help cushion the dent college tuition makes on one’s wallet. These applications must be completed annually in order to qualify for nine federal student-aid programs, the 605 state aid programs, and most institutional financial aid. The Consumerist recently reported that college students failed to claim more than $2.9 billion in grants last year by not filling out the FAFSA in 2013. Washington state alone had $58.1 million of unclaimed Pell Grant money.
Filing the FAFSA and the WASFA can be daunting, so the GEAR UP staff at Walla Walla High School have spent all of the January Wednesday evenings (5-7pm) in the school library assisting seniors and parents with filing the FAFSA and WASFA, as well as providing general information about financial literacy. They also hosted one of these information sessions at SEA-TECH (Southeast Area Skills Center), one of Walla Walla Public Schools’ partners. SEA-TECH is one of 15 skill centers in Washington State that provides students with access to technical programs of study.
A common concern that students and parent have is that student grades will impact their ability to get money. While many scholarships have GPA minimums, federal aid is not based on grades. Another reason people don’t file the FAFSA is that they think they’ll fall outside the “correct” income bracket for receiving aid. The truth is that the FAFSA formula is based on a complicated formula that accounts for a lot of factors in addition to parental income, and so it’s hard to tell at first-glance if you truly won’t receive money. Don’t let yourself become the reason you didn’t get free money! Finally, some think the process for filing is too difficult. In reality, the FAFSA is easier to file than ever. It’s online and takes less than an hour of your time as long as you have your social security number and tax documents. No matter who you are or what you income is, file your application for student financial aid!
Upon completion of their FAFSA, students were rewarded with fancy WashBoard pens that come with USB flash drives containing information about scholarships and other college financial information.