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.

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. 

Finley GEAR UP Ambassador represents River View High School at Summer Retreat

Carlos Orozco shown in bright blue shirtIn early August, River View High School Junior, Carlos Orozco took a trip to Pullman, WA for the first annual GEAR UP Ambassador Retreat at Washington State University. Carlos was the only student in attendance from Finley, but joined ambassadors from other eastern Washington high schools, including Kamiakin, Chiawana, Ki-Be, Burbank, Connell, and Kennewick High school, among others. 

During the retreat, Carlos’ days were filled attending multiple learning sessions. These sessions taught the students how to network with others, team building exercises, communication, & mentoring skills. The sessions helped build the students ability to form positive relationships with peers, employers, and teachers, and become good leaders. 

Carlos and the other students stayed in one of WSU’s newest residence halls and were able to meet current students and professors, giving them a very similar experience to being a real college student on campus.  As a way to tour the campus the students took part in a fun scavenger hunt that led them to different buildings all across WSU.

As the first student from Finley to attend this trip, Carlos did not know what to expect, but went with a very open mind and ready for a new experience. “If you go into a place and you don’t know anyone you can still have fun.” He also said he learned a lot and would recommend the retreat to other GEAR UP Ambassadors.  One main thing he took away from the trip was to never expect anything when meeting a new person, whether it is a fellow student or a future employer, just to talk to them. “I can utilize what I learned to apply for scholarships, get a job, and succeed in college.”  

River View High Welcomes New Principal with New Ideas

Chris Davis is the new Principal at River View High. He comes to River View from Enterprise Middle School in Richland. Two very impactful, necessary, new initiatives brought to light by Chris this year are College GEAR Mondays and welcoming new cohort students to the grant.

The College GEAR Monday’s idea was presented to River View staff during a PLC at the beginning of the school year. Each staff was asked to wear a college t-shirt, sweater, jacket, etc. (can be alma mater but not required) to create more exposure to Finley students on the various colleges out there. The reception has been positive and almost everyone has worn their gear!

Upon presentation of the GEAR UP grant to Chris, he posed a great question on how new students were made aware of the grant and its offerings. There has never been a formal introduction of GEAR UP staff to new students at the beginning of the year-so one got scheduled. It was held on October 19th in the lecture hall. 13 total students were invited to hear about the GEAR UP grant from staff and student ambassadors. Some students were familiar with GEAR UP from their previous school; others had never heard about it. This opportunity was great both for the GEAR UP staff as well as new students. A new student meet and greet will be on the agenda for every school year moving forward. 

Thank you Chris Davis for your immediate partnership and collaborative efforts!

GEAR UP Summer STEM Camp 2015

GEAR UP’s summer STEM camp started Monday, June 15th and went until Thursday, June 25th. Eight, 2 hour days were filled with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math centered activities. These activities were both fun and educational and were put together by GEAR UP tutors Sarah Garza and Erika Martinez and River View HS GEAR UP Site Manager Amandalyn Rubio.

On the first Monday, the first activity was a collection of Brain Teasers. The students had to work on different teasers with ranging difficulties. There were a couple that stumped the students but they enjoyed trying to problem solve individually and as a group. The next thing the students did was make Oobleck. Oobleck is a non-Newtonian substance made of cornstarch and water that is classified as both a solid and a liquid. The students had fun experimenting with the Oobleck.

On Tuesday, the students took part in a Paper Airplane Challenge. Some of the students found it difficult to make paper airplanes but they enjoyed testing out different designs and trying to make them fly. The second activity of the day was making slime. The slime was made out of Elmer’s glue, Liquid Starch and water, which combined chemically to make a slime substance that the students were able to play with without it sticking to them.

Wednesday, students made their own Homemade Ice-cream in a bag. The students started by adding basic ice-cream ingredients cream, milk, sugar, and vanilla into a Ziploc bag. They then added that bag into a larger Ziploc bag that was filled with ice cubes and ice- cream salt. Both bags were shaken for up to 20 minutes. The shaking caused the salt to melt the ice which dropped the temperature surrounding the ice-cream mixture, causing it to freeze. Everyone really liked this activity and said the ice-cream actually tasted really good. After the ice-cream activity the students made their own Popsicle stick catapults, using Popsicle sticks, rubber bands, spoons, and cotton balls.

Thursday, the activities were the Balloon Rocket Car Challenge and the Newspaper Challenge. The Balloon Rocket Car Challenge gave students the opportunity to make a balloon rocket car out of recycled water bottles, straws, caps, skewers and balloons. They were then able to race their cars against each other. The Newspaper challenge tested the students’ ability to build a sturdy table able to hold a large textbook out of 8 sheets of newspaper, an 8 in. by 11in. sheet of thin cardboard, and masking tape. Two students completed the semi-difficult task.

The second Monday of the camp students participated in a Math Scavenger Hunt where they had to race around the classroom while trying to; for example, find an object that measured exactly 5 inches. The second activity of the day was learning about the components of blood. Props included water beads, foam pieces, and ping pong balls as blood cells and platelets. A large cutout person made out of paper also showed the students the blood flow through the body.

Tuesday, students had the opportunity to make their own lava lamp out of recycled water bottles, water, oil, food coloring, and Alka Seltzer. The students thought the chemical reaction that made the solution look like a lava lamp was really cool. On this day students also took part in a graphing activity. They had to make a picture on graph paper using plotted points and make a rule set so their partner could make the exact same picture on a blank graph. This was an activity they had previously done in Math class.

Wednesday, students were treated to STEM Jeopardy in the Lecture Hall. This homemade Jeopardy included the classic components of Jeopardy including Double Jeopardy, Daily Doubles, and Final Jeopardy. Categories were based on STEM, Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, and also included a Pop Culture category.

The last day of the camp the students competed in two challenges. In the Spaghetti Challenge student pairs were given 20 pieces of spaghetti, 1 yard of masking tape, 1 yard of string, and one large marshmallow. The teams had 20 minutes to build the highest spaghetti tower using their given materials that they could. The only rule was the marshmallow had to be at the highest point of the tower. It was interesting to see the different approaches the students had to the challenge. The final activity was the Egg Drop. The ultimate objective for the Egg Drop Challenge is for students to build a protective casing for a raw egg so that when it is dropped from a height of 10ft it will not break. One of the main rules for the challenge was the egg had to be visible by at least a quarter sized opening and had to be able to be taken out of the contraption after the drop. The students were able to use up to 12 different types of materials and had a fun time showing their creative sides.

Overall the STEM camp was a success for the program. A total of 8 students participated during the two weeks and seemed to really enjoy all the educational activities and lessons that were put together for them.

A special thank you goes to GEAR UP Ambassador Carlos Orozco, for being a positive role model and for his leadership amongst the 8 students that attended the camp. He was an integral part of getting some of the students to attend during the two weeks and made all efforts to help GEAR UP staff with any tasks that needed to be completed.


WSU Tri-Cities
WSU Early Outreach