Ephrata GEAR UP students attend LEAP Conference

February 26th, 2015 kicked off Ephrata High School’s first trip to the annual LEAP conference in Tacoma, Washington.  Attending the trip were EHS GEAR UP sophomores Babbie Cedillos, Raquel Rodriguez, Luis Navarro, Alexander Escalera, Jason Silva and Gerardo Ramirez.  The weekend long event was dedicated several hours of educational seminars, activities and speeches to focus on potential hardships for students of Hispanic descent. These included finding ways to cope with discrimination, information on how to attend and succeed in college as an undocumented student, and countless success stories from various teachers, leaders and politicians. University of Washington Tacoma also treated students to a campus tour, showcasing the unique historical buildings that the university renovated into an open, welcoming environment.

On Friday, the students spent Legislative day in the state Capitol meeting representatives from their district, Representative Manweller, and Representative Dent.  They addressed common problems that the students collaborated on with their peers on the previous day, such as college grants and scholarships, high school mental health aid, and issues regarding the DREAM act. During the dinner ceremony, State Supreme Court Justice Mary Yu spoke to the students about her past and how, no matter your upbringing, you can achieve great things with great determination.

Saturday consisted of several workshops that the students were able to choose from and attend, ranging from discussions of the history of Mexican Americans, College survival tips, filling out the WASFA, and future career choices. The trip was a huge success and the students were grateful for the opportunity.

Ephrata GEAR UP AVID Class Visits Eastern

Ephrata GEAR UP hosted a campus visit to Eastern Washington University. On November 6th about 35 students including the AVID class from OVP III gave up a half day at school to attend an informative college campus visit at Eastern. Students were thrilled to hear about the amazing programs at Eastern and see the campus for the first time. Two former EHS graduates that attend Eastern also met the group to say hi and offer words of wisdom and encouragement. This was a great experience for the sophomores who have a ways to go before they enroll. Seeing someone that they know in attendance made the possibility of college for them seem that much more attainable. The students were led on a tour of the campus including a tour of the impressive fitness center and Roos Field which was a highlight. The group was able to eat at the Tawanka dining hall where they enjoyed great food and loved the choices. The visit was capped off by a rousing admissions presentation delivered by Lakeisha Jones. She was a captivating, funny, and motivational speaker that had the students clamoring to get their picture taken with her after it was finished. The trip was a huge success and the best visit that Ephrata has had at Eastern due to the outstanding professionals on staff there. Future Eagles were made that day!

Ephrata Honor Society Visits Experience Music Project

Ephrata High School GEAR UP Students from the OVP II grant cohort group visited the Experience Music Project at the Seattle Center. This trip was a group of National Honor Society kids that got to visit one of the Northwest’s most interactive museums. The bus weathered the storm on Snoqualmie Pass in a blizzard to make the trek over to Seattle. Kathleen Allstott, the NHS Advisor at EHS, and a couple of parents gave the kids the ground rules and they were off and running in the EMP museum. The museum has interactive displays which allow the visitors to learn to play guitar, record vocals, or try their hand at playing a drum kit. There was amazing art and rock music history including listening to different genres and learning about the beginnings of many iconic bands of our time. There was an entire section chronicling the rise and fall of the band Nirvana including band members photos, instruments, and famous clothing that they wore during performances. There was also a science fiction area of the museum that contained famous artifacts from television and movies. There were green screen stages which allowed the students to put themselves into a movie and see how many scenes are made in modern film. The students were able to eat lunch at the Center House food court and have some free time. A small group was also able to attend a professional guitar lesson to learn some electric guitar techniques which was a favorite activity for those who attended. The return trip was again through driving snow but all returned safely home. The NHS trip to the EMP was a great cultural experience for Ephrata students that they don’t normally get.

Ephrata HS S.T.E.M. Advisory a Success

Ephrata High School GEAR UP site director Amy Grizzel collaborated with the administration to create and execute an advisory lesson discussing S.T.E.M. (Science Technology Engineering and Math). The presentation was delivered to the 9th graders in OVP III. The lesson was based on the GEAR UP supported Families4College curriculum. The students were introduced to what S.T.E.M. is and watched videos that were not only entertaining, but very informative and engaging. Students were excited to learn about careers in S.T.E.M. that they didn’t think of or that they didn’t know existed. The advisory lesson had the teachers lead a discussion and ask questions to challenge the students and get them thinking about their futures. The advisory session was very productive and was a great way to introduce students to S.T.E.M. and connect it to some of the classes and programs being offered at Ephrata High School that they can enroll in in the fall.

Ephrata Seniors Cash in on College Credits

Ephrata High School GEAR UP seniors (OVP II) that are enrolled in a statistics math class visited Big Bend Community College on January 10th. The students led by their teacher Cassie Roloff got to see what college life on campus was really like at BBCC. The purpose of the trip was to enroll in the school to count the high school class as college credit. This will be one of many steps that the students will take towards their successful futures. Students were also issued BBCC student ID cards and received an in depth campus tour. They were able to visit the STEM lab and the Physics lab which inspired them and got them more prepared to head for college. The entire morning was exciting and brought the students one step closer to attaining their goals.

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