River View High School Senior's Prepare for College the Right Way

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.

RVHS Freshman Explore Richland's REACH Museum

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.

Finley AVID Goes to LIGO

On December 19, 2014 GEAR UP had the pleasure of visiting Tri-Cities’ very own LIGO site. LIGO stands for the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory.  As the students learned during the presentation about LIGO’s history, there are only four sites in the world and we are fortunate enough to have one about 45 miles from River View High School. This visit was very educational and interesting for all Finley GEAR UP AVID students and staff. LIGO seeks to detect gravitational waves that are produced from events such as black holes or even neutron stars.

After the welcoming presentation about LIGO, the students were broken off to go and test out the hands-on  exhibits and other activities that were set up for them to explore. Some  activities consisted of picking up a box and looking through the open  crease that allowed one to see the light it produced; this activity was called Scoping the Stars. Another fun activity students were excited to test was Giant Slinky, this exhibit was very impressive. It  resembled a huge slinky for a lot of the students, hence the name. The student had to pull a lever back and forth a couple of times in order for the large spring to move and create waves.

This field trip was also a job site visit for River View students. Dakota Damerow was able to speak with a programmer while touring the control room at LIGO.

Finley GEAR UP partnered with LIGO and River View High School in order to take our GEAR UP AVID students on this exciting trip. Our students really seemed to enjoy their visit because they expressed it to us on our way home from LIGO. Thank you to Dale Ingram for planning this visit for River View AVID Students. 

AVID Parent Night Provides Information to River View High Parents

On Wednesday, December 17th Mayra Mendoza came out to River View HS to present to Finley AVID parents. AVID parents have had specific AVID specific events hosted for them and this event was no exception. A total of 10 parents RSVP'd to attend. Mayra prepared a powerpoint on the background of the AVID program, what AVID looked like at River View, and the importance of the elective in their students' high school-and later college careers. Mayra was able to bring home the importance of early planning and being aware of your students' academic transcript. A special thank you to Mayra from the GEAR UP main office for taking the time to prepare a fantastic presentation for the AVID parents seeking more information about the elective and its influences on their students' education.

RVHS GEAR UP Students Make an Autumn Visit to Eastern Washington University

On November 21st, Finley GEAR UP took 38 River View High School 10th and 12th graders on a trip to visit Eastern Washington University in Cheney, WA. Only a handful of students had been to EWU in the past so it was a new experience for most in the group.  Also in attendance were 5 GEAR UP tutors, RVHS English teacher Tyler Hogg, and Finley GEAR UP Site Manager Amandalyn Rubio.

The packed bus arrived at Eastern around 9am and soon began the first activity of the day. The students were split by grade and each group was taken on a tour of the campus.  A highlight of the tours included a stop at the Pence Union Building, which serves as the community center for EWU containing dining services, the campus bookstore, computer labs, and meeting rooms. Other highlights included the University Recreation Center, Roos Field, and the JFK Library.

Both tours ended at Senior Hall where the second activity took place, an Admissions Presentation and Student Panel Q & A. The admissions presentation gave the students great information about EWU, including the process of applying and enrolling at the school, what kind of programs are offered, and the cost of attending. During the student panel the River View students learned more about the campus from a different perspective. The panel talked to the students about making their own schedules, being in clubs, different sports offered and fun things to do on campus and in the Cheney and Spokane area. At the end of the session the RVHS students also heard from Aaron McGaughey, RVHS Alumni and current junior at EWU. It is always exciting for the students to see alumni from back home doing well in college.    

After the admissions presentation, the students headed to Tawanka Commons where they sat down for an all you can eat lunch alongside current EWU students. During this time the students were also able visit the bookstore and a group of students who were interested in engineering were taken on a tour of the Computing and Engineering Building led by Aaron McGaughey, who is currently studying in the Engineering program.

After lunch the group headed back to Senior Hall for their last activity of the day, a Financial Aid presentation from the EWU Financial Aid & Scholarships Coordinator. She talked to the students about the important parts of Financial Aid, including filling out the FAFSA application and understanding the cost of going to college.

Overall the students had a very informative day and seemed thoroughly impressed with the EWU campus, students, and staff. 11 RVHS seniors were so impressed; they intend to apply to EWU this winter! Thank you to everyone who made the trip a success!

WSU Tri-Cities
WSU Early Outreach