It’s that time again! National GEAR UP Week took place Sept. 19th-23rd, and GEAR UP staff had a few planned activities for the 2017/18 cohort students at PHS. Our famous spin to win wheel, made an appearance during lunch as students had the chance to answer any question related to FAFSA, college application, SAT, grants, scholarships, and much more. If they answered a question close enough to the answer, they won a small prize. Other activities that were incorporated into this event were a writing contest, GEAR UP/ College bingo, and college logo shirt design. Seniors were also reminded that FAFSA opened up Oct.1st, and were given packets that walked students through the FAFSA application. That way, once Oct. 1st came around, students were able to apply for financial aid.
Moving on to Sept. 28th, GEAR UP held its first social of the school year. There wasn’t a big turn out as previous socials, but there was definitely new faces. Ms. Wilson coordinated this social to reach out to seniors and talked to them about the importance of scholarships and financial aid. She went on to explain GEAR UP’s objectives for this school year, which indicate that 85% of GEAR UP seniors need to complete the SAT, and 95% GEAR UP students need to complete the FAFSA. She explained how these goals will only help students to be successful in their college career. Ms. Wilson also handed out scholarship packets and FAFSA packets to those students who had not received one.
On Oct.3, Nanette Stark, PHS counselor, coordinated a FAFSA night, where seniors were able to apply for financial aid. Any senior who had questions about the application, or who weren’t sure how to fill it out, were able to attend and receive help from admissions counselor from WSU Tri-Cities, and Heritage University. There was also GEAR UP staff, Ms. Rivera and Ms. Wilson, who were assisting in any way they could. Some students had already filled out their FAFSA, but they were just curious on what the next step would be. Thanks to the help of WSU Tri-Cities and Heritage reps, along with GEAR UP/PHS staff, students at PHS were able to successfully apply for financial aid.
An upcoming event that GEAR UP staff have been working on is the Spokane National College Fair. Over 200 college/ universities from around the U.S will be attending this event! College reps will be able to answer any questions the students may have in regards to their school. GEAR UP will be taking 40 seniors to this event, along with PHS counselor Melanie Cushing. We are looking forward to this college fair, and meeting people from around the U.S.
This summer 130 Walla Walla High School GEAR UP students participated in College and Career readiness programs at college campuses across the Pacific Northwest. Students received on-campus, hands-on experiences in everything from building their own business plans to writing college essays and learning how to become leaders on their high school campus. Summer academic programming is a vital part of building a college-going culture and GEAR UP is happy to partner with our academic partners across the Northwest to ensure students get an 180-degree look at post-secondary education and career planning. Students that participated in summer programming also take part in many school year activities; including GEAR UP Student Ambassadors and GEAR UP Peer Mentors. All these summer experiences were paid for by GEAR UP funding through a Department of Education College and Career Readiness Grant.
Washington State University GEAR UP, which is located on campus at Walla Walla High School, involves a variety of innovative partnerships and initiatives to support students in college and career readiness skills.
For more information or to find out how your student can participate in GEAR UP programs check out our WWHS website www.yourcollegeandcareer.org or call Becky Waggoner-Schwartz 509-526-8621.
Soap Lake High School juniors and seniors have a new elective. Students now have an opportunity to take a College Scholarship and Application class where they are able to work on scholarship applications, essays, and college applications. GEAR UP Site Manager and class instructor, Roger Chamberlain, says “The focus of the class is scholarship applications but there is so much more we are able to do. There is a particular focus on writing personal essays customized for the scholarship application. College application season is coming also and we will work on putting together a strong application.” Other activities include career interest surveys and best college fit.
Some of our class members have set some pretty high goals concerning scholarships. Several students have set a goal to apply for over 200 scholarships this year. “That is a lot of work” says Chamberlain, “but each one gets a little easier because you can build on the work you have done on the previous one. Students use many resources including Unigo, The Washboard, and Scholarship Junkies.
Soap Lake is offering 2 sections of this new elective. Soap Lake GEAR UP is proud to be working with such motivated students and help them build the future they are willing to work for.
As we approach the 2016-17 school year, we end the summer of 2016 with the Seattle College Tour. GEAR UP staff and a parent volunteer, took 20 students to the Seattle/Bellevue area, to visit a variety of colleges and universities. They left August 9th, and started their tours on August 10th with their first stop at Highline Community College.
At Highline Community College, students were taught the benefits of attending a community college, rather than going straight into a university. Students were able to visit the technology program offered there. The group was able to interact with professors from each department, and were given information of each program. Some students were not aware that they don’t need SAT scores to enroll in a community college, which was a surprise to some. The second stop was Seattle University. Here students learned the difference between a public/private schools, and got a glimpse of the school. Seattle U is a catholic private school that offers programs including Nursing, Engineering, and Law & Justice. Students were reminded if they get good grades in High school, and score high on their SAT, they could possibly receive a full ride scholarship to Seattle U!
On the second day, students had the chance to tour Seattle Pacific University and Lake Washington Institute of Technology. Students were given a tour of each school, and information of the programs they have to offer. They also got the opportunity to meet some of the professors in charge of the technology, nursing, and dental programs. The students even got to witness bread making at Lake Washington! Their facility has their own bread shop in the school! Students were fascinated by the schools environment and structure.
On their final day the group was able to tour Bellevue Community College, and University of Washington. Bellevue Community College is one of the few community colleges that has more programs available for students. They also have TRIOS and a multicultural program. Some of the students were really interested in the technology department they offer. At UW, students went on a tour of the nursing program. They were able to see classroom setting and how their classrooms are different from a regular class. Students received information of the different programs offered at UW as well.
Overall, Seattle College Tour was a great experience for GEAR UP staff to interact with the students. Some students stated this was their highlight of their summer. We also had about 4-6 students tell us they want to attend one of the colleges we visited! As we start our journey with senior and juniors this upcoming school year, we are one step close to our goal, high school graduation than college bound!
It’s July and that means it’s time for STEM Camp at WSU Tri-Cities. 9 interested Southridge HS students attended 1 or both STEM (Science, Math, Engineering, Technology) camps this year: CSI Science & Robotics.
First was CSI (Crime Scene Investigation) Science camp where students learned about forensic investigation. One of the camp counselors was ‘murdered’ and the students spent the week working to identify the killer! They started with learning how to investigate a crime scene and then learned about blood spatter, fingerprints, hair and fibers, shoe prints, and testing evidence. They were treated to several guest speakers, including a Richland police officer, who discussed evidence collection and processing by police. They investigated the crime scene, including collecting evidence and taking photographs, interviewed suspects, and processing evidence which lead them to find the killer. The students enjoyed learning about forensic science, while trying to solve the murder.
The second camp was Robotics camp. 4 Southridge students had to design robots to meet their choice of tasks. These students really got into ways to complete the tasks and building all sorts of different robots. One of the robots was designed to not cross black electrical tape. Another robot is supposed to kick a ball. A third was designed to dance and wiggle. The main challenge for the students is not just building the robot, the problem is programing it to perform the desired action. The students enjoyed building their robots and testing them, so much they complained at the end of each day, when they had to stop!