GEAR UP Student Ambassador Reveals His Academic Success

Sophomore Carlos Orozco represents GEAR UP as a student ambassador at River View High School. As an ambassador, Carlos said he has enjoyed being able to experience new opportunities through the GEAR UP program and also being able to get out of his comfort zone and meet new people. One thing that Carlos expressed that has been most rewarding to him from being a GEAR UP student is realizing how much work it is to get into college. Carlos says he completed two years of elementary education while residing in Mexico before he moved to the United States. Despite any obstacles Carlos has faced, he has always maintained his education as a priority. His motivation and dedication to keep excelling in his academics is very encouraging.  

Carlos explained how during his time at River View High School he was encouraged by his math teacher, Mr. Eisenbarth to keep doing well. He said that he was taught different approaches to tackling difficult math problems. Mr. Eisenbarth has always reminded Carlos that “there is no one way to do math.” Carlos has always challenged himself and that is why he chooses to be in honors classes. He says he enjoys the advanced placement and working with his teachers to help improve his skills.

When asked about his secret as to why he is so academically successful, Carlos laughed and said that he likes to be organized and “keep things on track.” He also mentioned that he is very optimistic and likes to “see the logic in everything.” Talking to Carlos was really an enjoyable experience because it proves that some of the younger generations are very intelligent and willing to work hard in school, just as Carlos does. He also said that his teacher Mrs. Ward has taught him that helping people helps oneself in so many ways.

Carlos discussed a little about his busy schedule and how he finds the time to manage everything he is involved in. On top of school, Carlos plays sports such as Football and Track. He volunteers his time as a shot-clock-operator for his high school and Finley Middle School. Carlos is also involved in FCCLA, Soccer Club, and GEAR UP. Carlos enjoys being busy and says that a way he keeps everything in order is by managing his time. He also enforced that he focuses on academics while at school and his extra-curricular activities after school. Carlos is excited for the next school year to come because he is closer to graduation and entering college.

River View Ambassador Attends SOLES Conference

On Friday March 6, 2015, Richard Parra (River View High GEAR UP Ambassador) attended the Society Of Latino Engineers and Scientists Latino (SOLES) Parent Conference at Washington State University in Pullman, WA. He boarded a charter bus at 5am in Pasco and departed for the university. Richard was accompanied by Pavel Radashevskiy, a GEAR UP tutor who is studying Electrical Engineering at the Washington State University Tri-Cities campus. Richard’s mother was unable to accompany him due to work obligations, so GEAR UP was thrilled to facilitate an engineering role model for Richard that day. The SOLES conference allowed Richard the opportunity to experience WSU for the first time.

There were 45 people in attendance with most of the day’s presentation in Spanish. The day began with a financial aid presentation that focused on FAFSA/WASFA, the DREAM act, and student resources on campus. The students and their parents then went on a walking campus tour.  The tour included a comprehensive visit to various engineering buildings where the SOLES participants were able to shadow students and professors for the day. Students also got to hear from Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories (SEL) who has hired several WSU alumni to design, manufacture, and support electrical power systems. A group of engineering students comprised a student panel for the SOLES students as well. This panel included students in Bio Medical engineering, materials science, and mechanical engineering.

Richard’s favorite part about the tour was getting to finally see WSU’s campus for the first time. Richard was auto admitted into WSU back in January due to his high class ranking. If he chooses, he may be attending the university this fall. He won items from the raffle that was done at the end of the event-which he stated he never wins anything so he was very excited. He liked hearing about the tutoring programs and support services available to Latino students on campus.

GEAR UP tutor Pavel had the following to say about the SOLES conference “Great opportunity, I wish I had when I was shopping around for schools. Both kids and parents got to experience together. Everyone involved made group feel welcome. The student panel was great because good questions were asked and then great answers were given back.”

Finley AVID explores WSU-TC Main Campus & Nursing Building

On Friday, February 13th AVID students from River View High School and Finley Middle School journeyed to Richland, WA to visit the WSU Tri-Cities campus and the WSU College of Nursing at WSU Tri-Cities building. The trip had been planned as a partnership between GEAR UP at RVHS and FMS Administration. Thirty-three AVID students ranging in grade from 7th to 10th, three GEAR UP staff members, the RVHS AVID teacher Mr. Hogg, and the FMS Principal/AVID District Director Mr. Harrington were in attendance for the trip.

The first stop of the day was the WSUTC main campus. Here the group was treated to an Admissions presentation and PowerPoint that explained the process of getting into college at WSU. This included information on what WSU looks for in students, including: GPA, classes taken, and test scores. The presenters also talked about the admissions process, which includes; applying to the school, applying for scholarships and probably most important, applying for the FAFSA.

After the presentation, the kids were able to hear from a professor at WSU- Tri-Cities, Allan Felsot. He is a professor in the Chemistry department and spoke to the students about the importance of science and how it connects to the world. He also made sure the students understood how important it is to read and stay current with the news. He was very entertaining and kept the students engaged for the thirty minutes he spoke.

The day ended with a stop at the WSUTC nursing building where the students took a short tour of the classrooms and then heard from a student panel filled with year 1 & 2 nursing students. The nursing students talked about college in general and about the nursing program and had nothing but great things to say about the school and their experiences. At the end of the student pan

Overall the trip went really well and GEAR UP would like to thank WSUTC and everyone involved who helped make the trip a success.el the students participated in a nursing themed word scramble and winners received WSU prizes and candy.

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.

WSU Tri-Cities
WSU Early Outreach