KiBe GEAR UP Visits Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic

GEAR UP at Kiona-Benton High School ventured on a day long trip to Yakima, WA. The first stop was to Yakima Valley Community College. A representative from the college informed students about the college and career paths available in the healthcare field. Ki-Be students also heard from TRIO, a federally funded outreach program similar to GEAR UP. The TRIO coordinator helped explain what it takes to be successful in college and the general resources available to them at not only YVCC, but any college/university. Students were then led on a campus tour where they took a more in-depth look at the dorms, dental hygiene program, and science building.

KiBe GEAR UP students enjoyed dining amongst college students at YVCC. They recapped the tour and the pros and cons of the college. Lunch provided an opportunity for students to discuss what programs piqued their interest.

The second part of the trip was a look at the Yakima Farm Workers Clinic on Nob Hill. This part of the trip was relevant to students because they had the opportunity to visualize potential career paths. Students heard from the dental, health care, and office administration program. The students also were taken on a very detailed tour. They saw a robot fill prescriptions in the pharmacy and heard from orthodontists, nurses, and physicians regarding the highlights of the careers as well as skills necessary to be successful.

The trip ignited the possibility of a science-based career for these students. They were attentive and had many questions for our presenters.

Kiona Benton GEAR UP Ambassadors Make an Impact in their Community

GEAR UP at Kiona Benton High School realized a need to help amp up the students’ involvement in their school and community. Thus the GEAR UP Ambassadors was started as a way to allow students to get involved in school and meet other goal-oriented, like-minded students. The students have been informed that one huge piece of college applications as well as many scholarship applications is community involvement and extra-curricular activities. Realizing that they need to be more involved, on March 30, 2015, GEAR UP Ambassadors took time from their spring break to promote positive vibes in their community.

Ambassadors wanted to provide smiles to residents in an assisted living home so they created cards filled with silly, light-hearted jokes. The cards are a small gesture, but will easily brighten someone’s day. Ambassadors also decided to take time to make cards for victims of domestic violence. They wanted to provide messages that help empower victims. The messages let victims know they are strong, beautiful, and powerful.

GEAR UP Ambassadors are quickly making a name for themselves within the community and will be increasing their community service role over the next year. As GEAR UP at KiBe looks to enhance its Ambassador Program, at least two, student-organized community service activities will become the standard. GEAR UP wants to help mold well-rounded students who are more aware of issues in their community and the world and who are ready to assist in creating the solutions.

One benefit of this GEAR UP sponsored community service activity was that sophomores got a jump start on activities for their college applications. Students had the chance to express their creativity, serve others, and have fun while doing so.

Kiona Benton GEAR UP Learns About What Makes a Successful College Student

Dedicated KiBe GEAR UP students loaded onto a bus on the Friday before spring break to visit two college campuses. At Yakima Valley Community College, students learned more about the process involved in becoming a community college student as well as educational programs offered from admissions counselor Marivy Vasquez. Immediately following, the TRIO Student Support Services (SSS) adviser shared her own college journey and why she chose her career path. She then informed the students about programs like GEAR UP at the community college- SSS being one. Students who intend on transferring to a university, demonstrate an academic need and are either low-income or a first generation college student can apply for the program to help support them through the community college and onto the university. To demonstrate what it is like to be a college student and the skills necessary to be a successful college student, the adviser had an activity prepared for the students. The first task was to divide themselves into 5 groups of similar size including at least one boy and one student representative from each grade level. Once in groups, their objective was to complete tasks to gather the most points in a 5 minute time period. Students created paper ties, ran around the room showing spirit fingers, and did wall squats as a team. After determining the winner, the adviser asked what the students thought the 3 greatest things she wanted them to take away from the activity were. Teamwork, one student said; communication, another followed up with. The students offered excellent ideas, but the greatest idea she wanted to relay to them through the activity was time management. She said in order to be a successful college student you will have to make wise decisions about how best to use your time. In the activity students could choose to do a bunch of activities worth fewer points or a few more challenging activities worth greater points. Through the activity, students had to best decide how to use their time wisely. After the activity debrief, students learned a little more about what other supportive student services were offered and were able to get questions answered including whether or not YVCC has a marine biology program, if they take students who had an Individual Education Plan (IEP) in high school, and what the minimum GPA they need is. After a quick tour of campus, we loaded back onto the bus.

After lunch in Yakima, the bus headed to Central Washington University (CWU) in Ellensburg. Before starting the campus tour students were able to explore the student bookstore where current KiBe students ran into a KiBe High School alumnus who is currently a CWU student. This was very exciting as current students were able to learn about his experience in college, see how he had changed and grown, and saw in the flesh that students from Benton City do go to universities. Not having much time at CWU, the students split into two groups and took an expedited tour of the campus. After, students met the admissions counselor who would be reviewing their applications. He shared his educational journey. Coming from immigrant parents who lived in Yakima, their goal for him was that he should graduate from high school. Knowing that he could do that by achieving the bare minimum, he didn’t live up to his full potential his freshman year of high school. He soon realized he could do better and did so. Still, when he graduated, he decided to go to work immediately to help his family make money. He didn’t think his family would be able to pay for college off minimum wage. After working for a while, he realized that although he was making good money, he would not be able to sustain a good life for himself with his minimal education working in that position, so he applied to college. He shared how important the personal statement can be in that he was able to explain his questionable academic record to the admissions counselor through his own personal statement. After sharing his story, he shared admissions information and the top reasons why students choose CWU-proximity to home, affordability, and academic programs.

KiBe GEAR UP students returned to KiBe realizing they are not alone in the pursuit to attain their goals and dreams. As the dean of student services at YVCC mentioned, there are many resources available, but the students need to take advantage of opportunities and learn to advocate for themselves. They need to make it known to campus employees what they need to be successful.

Ki-Be GEAR UP Attends College Planning Day at WSU Tri-Cities

On March 16, 2015, thirty eager Kiona-Benton High School GEAR UP students boarded the bus to Washington State University Tri-Cities to participate in College Planning Day. Students were excited to learn about colleges they were interested in. At the event, students attended multiple thirty minute sessions with college representatives including Eastern Washington University, Washington State University, University of Washington, and Central Washington University.

The students were excited to receive a WSU Tri-Cities reusable bag upon entering the event and were quickly escorted to the sessions of their desire. GEAR UP staff attended the sessions and learned that seniors interested in Central Washington University, Western Washington University, and Eastern Washington University could still apply.

The students took away from the event information regarding college entrance requirements, cost of college, acceptance rates, and an overall feeling of university life without having to travel too far. Students enjoyed the event and learned a lot of useful information that will help them apply to colleges in the future.  Many sophomores even walked away feeling motivated to do well in high school because they found a university they would like to attend upon high school graduation!

Kiona Benton GEAR UP: Fire Fighters for the Day

Throughout the month of March, KiBe GEAR UP students have been able to explore many different career paths.  The most recent trip allowed students to explore becoming a student at Columbia Basin College (CBC) in the Fire Science or EMT program.  After a tour of the CBC campus, students gathered in a room to learn about the CBC admissions process and types of financial aid offered.  Josh, our student ambassador, was very informative and answered excellent and relevant questions KiBe students had.  Students learned about many of the different types of jobs one can have on campus through work study and that there is no minimum GPA required to be accepted into the college.  Josh informed the students about the huge difference in cost between a community college and a university as well why he liked the idea of going to a community college before transferring to a university—it is a nice stepping stone. 

After our visit to the college, we traveled to the Benton County Fire Department District #2, which continues to be incredibly supportive of helping the students of KiBe determine their future paths.  First, students sat in the department’s meeting room and learned about the basics of the job.  Much to the contrary of the job title, the fire fighters admitted that these days about only 10% of their job involves fighting fires.  The majority of their time is spent assisting on emergency calls and administering medical aid.  Thus it is of utmost importance that someone getting into the profession be a certificated EMT. Then the 3 fire fighters’ shared their individual paths.  Two things were heavily emphasized to the students: stay on a straight path and keep a clean record and the resident program is a great way to get your foot in the door in a very competitive field.  The resident program at District #2 means that an eligible adult will be allowed to live at the station rent-free, receive a small monthly stipend, gain on the job training, and receive further education through the college at no expense to the resident. 

The most exciting part of the day was exploring the station and vehicles.  Students were shown the dorms the residents live in, the common area, and the vehicle garage.  The fire fighters explained all the different equipment used and even allowed the students to put on their equipment.  During the fire fighters’ 48 hour shift, when a call comes in, they are expected to get fully dressed in under 2 minutes.  The students learned the motto of the fire department: two hands, two tools, not including yourself.  It is expected that the fire fighters utilize all their strength to be as prepared for the call as possible.  Students were even allowed to hop inside of the fire truck to feel what it’s like to be in that seat on a call and climbed into the back of the ambulance. 

Perhaps the most important fun fact we learned: remember the next time you are talking to a fire fighter that there IS a difference between a fire truck and a fire engine.  A truck has the large ladder on top of it, while an engine does not.


WSU Tri-Cities
WSU Early Outreach