Welcome to WSU Early Outreach
On the first Friday of school (August 30th) freshmen are taken off campus for the day for a GEAR UP planned event called “Freshmen Friday.” Senior leaders, school administrators and counselors along with GEAR UP staff join the students for a day filled with leadership and fun. Upon arrival at the Clarkston Boys and Girls club students filed into the gym for some team building activities with ASB Advisor and Librarian, Kay Anderson and her team of Seniors. Following this we had our main speaker, Joe Hewa, Admissions Advisor at Eastern Washington University, talk to these freshmen about staying active in high school, not being afraid to ask for help, and how they can start preparing for post-secondary education as early as today. He included personal anecdotes and really connected with students. We then enjoyed monster pizzas and pop out on the blacktop.
Following lunch came the breakout sessions. The 205 freshmen were escorted by the seniors through 4 different sessions each lasting about 25 minutes. One session was “Staying active in High School” by Athletic Director and Assistant Principal Shannon Wilson alongside counselors Kathi Carlson and Janet Beitelspacher. Students were talked to by current group leaders and were encouraged to sign up for at least one extra-curricular activity whether it be a club, sport, or group. Another session was titled “Improving Student Relations” given by the district’s risk management specialist Mark Thompson along with Vice Principal Dan LejaMeyer. The two talked to students about appropriate relationships, reporting anything that made them uncomfortable, and who they can talk to. The next session was “Staying Engaged in the Classroom,” led by librarian Kay Anderson and Honor’s English and freshmen AVID teacher Paige Frazier. In this session students learned energizers as well as study skills to implement during the year. The last sessions was led by the GEAR UP staff. We handed out binders to every freshman to help with bringing the AVID initiative school wide. Binders included a pencil pouch and an information sheet with important information about GEAR UP and our study center. With the leftover time in our session Joe Hewa answered questions the students had and talked to them about what qualities EWU looks for in an applicant.
The day was fast paced and engaging, students came away with questions answered and “new school jitters” relieved. Many students signed up for an activity that they had not considered prior to this day and a familiarity with the administration and GEAR UP staff that hadn’t worked with them at the middle school helping to make the high school a more comfortable place to be.