Southridge High School’s GEAR UP took 16 students to the Cougar Discovery Camp at WSU Tri-Cities from June 27th to the 30th.  This camp offered insight into several college majors including Engineering, Computer Science, Education and Humanities, to help our students have a better understanding of what career opportunities are available in certain majors. Students had the option to transport themselves or ride on a school bus from Southridge to WSU TC’s campus every morning where we met with other GEAR UP programs. We started each day off in the café and lobby area of the CIC building for registration and sign-ins at 8:30 AM. The camp staff then split the students into groups according to what the student wrote as an interest on their registration packets. Groups were led to different classroom where they got an inside look of the major they were interested in.

Classes were led by college professors who taught in these majors. Interactive sessions of what each major was all about and what career pathways could be found in each major took place in the morning and then students had an hour break for lunch! Lunch was provided every day and students could sit inside or outside. It was exciting to see students make new friendships with other students from different schools who shared the same major as a future option! Students spent the last half of the day learning about career development, high school programs, and listening to panels of guest speakers answer questions about majors and careers. Students also had the chance to tour the B-Reactor at the Hanford tour site! Half of the students went on Tuesday and the other half on Wednesday. It was amazing to see that such an influential piece of history is minutes away from where we live.

A program called FOCUS College Matters Institute was brought in on the last day of the camp! The students were split and rotated between three sessions; Financial Aid, Best Fit and Scholarship/School Search. These were interactive sessions that got students involved through games and discussion. They did a great job of balancing fun and learning. Students involved in the GEAR UP program have heard us talk many times about these topics so it was nice to see it being brought up with a new refreshing approach! We ended the day with games and a camp T-shirt! Students had the chance to spend a week analyzing if their ideas of future plans are a good fit for them or if they should plan a new route. This inside look gave our student a huge advantage in college readiness and brings them one step closer to the next big step in their educational journey!