College Bound Outreach to Class of 2017 & 2018 Meeting All Scholarship Requirements

After months of planning and tailoring an early outreach message to College Bound students, GEAR UP and WSAC were able to put together a 40 minute presentation to all 10th and 11th grade River View HS students, meeting all pledge requirements (including the 2.0 GPA) on February 17, 2016.

Mrs. Rubio and Teresa Santoy co-presented the scholarship, its history, its intention, and how to access it, to cohort students. The event was attended by 83 total students who were signed up by GEAR UP in 7th and 8th grade at Finley Middle School. The students were divided by grade level and presented scholarship information in two separate sessions.

10th grade students were invited into the River View commons during their 5th period class. 11th grade students were slated for 6th period, after completing their ASVAB test for the majority of the day, their whole day spent in the lecture hall.

Students had college bound folders containing college bound scholarship knowledge: accessing your scholarship instructions, 68 eligible institutions accepting the scholarship in Washington State, and WASFA information in both English and Spanish. Teresa went through a comprehensive power point with students fielding plenty of student driven questions at the end of each presentation. Mrs. Rubio provided anecdotal information about the scholarship based on River View alumni’s experiences at various institutions where the scholarship was awarded.

Some of the aha (or light bulb) moments for students was that they in fact can take a year off from school, or have a break in college. They do not have to go 4 consecutive years; nor do they have to start college in the fall right after graduation. Also, the fact that students planning to apply out of state would not be funded was a game changer in the eyes of some River View students.

Special thank you to WSAC, Teresa Santoy, and Sarah Garza, for all their hard work and partnership in making this event possible for River View College Bound students. On the helm of a major college fair next month, College Planning Day, this event could not have been planned at a better time, or sparked questioning and planning in students in a more cohesive way.

GEAR UP Peer Mentoring Training

The GEAR UP Peer Mentoring training was an amazing experience.  These two days were incredibly helpful and insightful.  From the ice breakers, to the group activities, to the sessions with WSU Tri-Cities students.  It all was a very informative experience.  The next day I had the pleasure of meeting Latrell Armstrong who gave the attendees the Focus Training. Not only was it informative, but Mr. Armstrong gave my peers and I the knowledge and awareness of what GEAR UP is capable of doing and how we can spread the idea of education after high school.  Mr. Armstrong showed us how to reach out as mentors, how to host GEAR UP events at our school, and how to develop bonds with these students who previously never thought about college.

I received a lot of insight from the college and career exploration.  Discussions with WSU students and students from other high schools brought me to think about my plan for after high school and how I can help others to think about their education after high school.  These discussions and activities made me improve my communication skills as well as my social skills.  The Focus Training on the second day equipped me with all the necessary skills to be a mentor at my school.  Team development was a huge topic at this training and this improved my teamwork skills as well as leadership skills.  I was introduced to the idea of "effective communication" which really impacted the way I talk to my peers and the students who I help mentor.

The GEAR UP Peer Mentoring Training was not only fun, and insightful, but it gave me the skills to introduce my peers to GEAR UP.  I love and support GEAR UP and its resources.  I walked into this training as a student involved in GEAR UP, and I came out as a GEAR UP student/mentor thanks to this training.

Prescott Students Visit the Wall of Money

Scholarship time is right around the corner and Prescott students are learning about the easiest way to make thousands of dollars an hour, by applying for scholarships! No longer is this something that only Seniors do, there are scholarships specifically for Juniors, there are scholarships for being over 6 feet tall. Don’t like to write long essays? How about $500 and you need to keep your application under 10 words!

The first step at Prescott is to visit Mr. Thew’s “Wall of Money” and find a scholarship that fits your eligibility. The second step is to apply, sometimes this is an essay, other times it is submission of a drawing or a haiku. Finally you need to open a bank account to store all of your newly found riches!

RVHS Students Interested in Health Sciences visit CBC's Medical Building

On Friday, October 30th, Finley GEAR UP took 17 River View HS students to visit Columbia Basin College’s medical building, the Richland Health Science Center in Richland, Washington. The building houses CBC Health Science programs including, Surgical Technology, Radiologic Technology, Nursing, & Phlebotomy, among others. The students that attended the trip were documented with GEAR UP as being interested in a medical field using a 5th year planning spreadsheet.

The visit to the Health Science Center was broken up into 4 sessions each focusing on a separate program offered by the college. The sessions were led by an instructor/professor for each program. The first program the students learned about was Radiological Technology. The students were able to see real life examples of x-rays from actual patients in the Tri-Cities, which they thought was really cool. Examples included a knife in a man’s chest, a knee cap fracture, a baby, and bullet shrapnel in a person’s foot. Rene Fox, the associate professor for the program expressed how important rad-techs are in the medical system, and how in many medical emergencies they are vital to finding out what is wrong with a patient.

The next session was about the Nursing program at CBC. Students were able to tour the nursing facilities and see all of the very life-like dummies the nursing students have to practice their knowledge on. The dummies ranged in age from an adult male to an infant.

The third session the students had was about being a Surgical Technician. This session is one the students enjoyed a lot. During the session, a current surgical tech student at CBC let the students observe him as he went through the process of becoming sanitized. Everyone was shocked at how long the process was, getting his hands cleaned took over 10 minutes and by the time he was completely sanitized, gowned, and done setting up the surgical table; about 25 minutes had gone by. The students also had some hands on opportunities during this session, handling some of the different tools and using a couple of them for an Operation like game where one student had a camera and flashlight and another had a pair of surgical tweezers and had to use them to help grab a small object from the inside of a patient’s “stomach”.

The last session the students attended was about being a Medical Assistant. The students toured the facility the Medical Assistant students use and learned a little about what kinds of things the students have to do in the program, including testing each other’s urine and practicing giving each other vaccines (over 100) throughout the program. This program is highly competitive and in the past few years they’ve only accepted about a third of the total amount of applicants. The program takes one year for a certificate, so the demand is high to take part.

Overall, the students were really engaged and interested in what CBC had to offer them, and because all of the students are genuinely thinking about a future in a medical field, this trip was a perfect way for them to see some of the options they have just in their backyard. Thank you to the GEAR UP tutor supervisors for helping the trip run smoothly and to River View High School Principal Chris Davis for stopping in during lunch. 

Prosser High Ambassador's Elections and College Night 2015

As we move along the school year, Prosser High and WSU GEAR UP have had some exciting events take place in November. From student led conferences to college night, the students have been busy the last few weeks before thanksgiving break. The GEAR UP staff has been right there with the students, encouraging them to participate in the school events.

To begin with, in the 2nd week of November PHS held its annual student led conferences. Some of our tutors were able to translate for the Spanish speaking parents ensuring that the student were informing his/her parents of grades and any teacher comments. Our Graduation Success Specialist had a change to interact with the students to discuss their grades and 13 year plan. Parents were able to meet our GEAR UP staff and set up tutoring for their daughter/son. Overall, PHS had a great outcome in the student led conferences.

It was Election Day on Nov. 18th for our Ambassador program. The previous officers were recognized, and given a certificate of recognition. For this year the students were able to run for President, Vice-President, Event Planner, and Promoter. As President, the student must attend all the meetings/ events, report back to the other ambassadors about upcoming events, and interact with other students. As Vice-President, the student in this position must be able to perform all the duties as the president in case of his/her absence. An Event Planner's duties are to plan any upcoming events. For example, if one of the students had an upcoming birthday, the event planner is in charge of coordinating something special for the student. The Promoter will be in charge of promoting GEAR UP by creating flyers for any upcoming events. They will work with GEAR UP staff to promote any upcoming events

The students running for these positions were able to script a speech and share to fellow students on why they would be the best candidate for the position. After the candidates presented their speech the students were able vote for the officers. Our GEAR UP staff counted the votes and new officers were appointed. The officers are as follow: President: Edith Raya, Vice-President: Gabriel Orozco, Event Planner: Maria Zaragoza, and Promoter: Aaron Gutierrez. Congratulations to these kids who did an extraordinary on their speeches!

Another event that GEAR UP participated in was Family College Night. Prosser High School hosted its annual Family College Night, where different college reps in our nearby area come for one night and give out information about their admission process. This event is opened to the community so there was a good amount of community members who attended.

Celebrating National GEAR UP week at Moses Lake!


National GEAR UP Week was a great opportunity to raise awareness in the community about the positive impact GEAR UP is having at MLHS and around the country!

To start the week off, on September 19th there was a Kick-off event at MLHS. Within the event there were college readiness activities, parent and student presentations about college readiness topics like financial aid, choosing the right college for you, and many more. Our GEAR UP Alumni Leader, Rosa Valdivia, gave a presentation on how GEAR UP has influenced her life positively.

staffOn September 21st GEAR UP with the help of Moses Lake High School hosted a staff lunch in which all staff were welcome. GEAR UP staff took this opportunity to talk to the staff about the GEAR UP Program. On September 22nd, we had the Graduation Cap activity, where students wrote their name, dream school, and dream career on a graduation cap which were later displayed around the halls. On September 23rd, everyone represented their favorite college/ university by wearing college gear. 

On September 24th, students participated in the “Road Map to Your Future” activity. Students wrote their name and dream school on a sticker and put it on a large map next the city and school they want to attend. The maps were displayed in the school commons for everyone to enjoy and participate.

To wrap things up on Friday, September 25th our SAS team went around to classes and presented some GEAR UP Workshops. They presented on college and career readiness topics for example, financial aid, scholarships, and career pathways.

Overall, National GEAR UP Week was a success at MLHS and everyone enjoyed it!

Dayton - National GEAR UP Week in a Small Town/School

GEAR UP week in a small school can be more of a challenge than in a large school because of less numbers in students and staff. However, National GEAR UP Week was an opportunity to raise awareness in school and community about the positive impact GEAR UP is having locally. It was a time to share our program's accomplishments and to get students involved with our services to students and families.

Some of the activities Dayton did during National GEAR UP Week; Staff and students made posters for every class room that said, “College. It’s not a Dream, It’s a Plan.” A wall in the high school was designated for students to post their dreams. Each morning during the announcements, a student read CollegeBrainy Quotes. We had planned for a GEAR UP College Pep Rally with students verses teachers in college trivia, which did not play out but we will plan to do next year. We ended the week with an after-school informational meeting for parents and students. We felt that GEAR UP Week was a success in putting out the message of awareness of “College. It’s not a Dream, It’s a Plan.”

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