Tag Archives: college

College Readiness changes how students view college

By Alex Twoy

Staff Writer

As soon as you walk into College Readiness, you can feel the curiosity and eagerness in the room. College Readiness is a mandatory Expeditions course for all Summit students during their junior year of high school. In the course, students come up with life plans, take steps to make themselves more competitive in the college admissions process and prepare for scholarship and loan applications.

College Readiness teacher Melissa Thiriez said that College Readiness can change students’ points of view about college. “I’ve seen my students grow in a lot of different ways,” she said. Her favorite part is seeing students’ views change “over time because of their own realizations” and “because of their new experiences.”

Denali junior Ellen Hu said that College Readiness changed her point of view about college. Her favorite part of the course was “being able to explore different colleges and see what options I had.” She added, “We had talked about it before with our mentors, but I had never really explored them myself and this gave me the opportunity to learn different tools and different things that I needed in order to find those schools.”

Denali junior Tamara Pacheco said that a key aspect of College Readiness is keeping an open mind. “Be open-minded, honestly,” she said. “Some don’t realize how helpful the class can be.”

See below for a video about the College Readiness course:

College Readiness provides advice for juniors

By Christian Frias and Cathy Ly

Staff Editors

The College Readiness Expeditions course is about life planning. Some of the topics the students discuss in class are their budget for college, what college they want to go to, what they want to major in when they get to college, etc.

Rainier junior Alan Do said, “Don’t procrastinate because in this class you’re going to be writing a personal statement that you will need for senior year, and you’re going to be calculating your finances, and you will really need to know all those details so you aren’t like struggling with finances and stress through your most important year through high school and your last year of high school.”

Rainier seniors have expressed that the course helped them with the college application process. Rainier senior Katherine Lim said, “After taking this course we were more familiar with the process of applying – all the student loans and all the scholarships – and the teacher actually sat there and explained things to us.”

See below for a video about the College Readiness course:

Expeditions course prepares students for the college process

By Zachary Navarra

Staff Writer

Amber Fields hopes to turn College Readiness from a class that is required for all juniors to a class all juniors want to take. The course itself is intended to help students navigate the college application process and prepare them for life after Shasta. Ms. Fields hopes to create personal connections with each of her students to further assist them with their college goals and plans.

Shasta junior Kathryn Currier-Herzallah said she believes that College Readiness allows students “to enjoy the privilege of lots of independent work time and self direction that you don’t necessarily get in other Expeditions. The work is researched based that you complete at your own liberty.” She continued by saying,“Ms. Fields is what I hope college is like.”

Ms. Fields said that, “I ask students to be vulnerable and also just be open.” She intends to create an environment where she can work with students to further their understanding of the college process and what they want to do with their lives after Shasta.

See below for a video about the College Readiness course:

First-generation seniors share their hardships

By Gabryele Garcia and Sabrina Guzman Nava

Staff Writers

Immigrants come to the United States seeking refuge and a better life, just like the parents of Rainier senior Dorothy Le. “The Vietnam War caused a lot of Vietnamese people to … jump on boats and go to other countries to escape war, to escape communism,” Le explained. Many such immigrant parents did not attend or graduate from college, which puts their children in the unique position of being first-generation students.

A first-generation student is a student whose parents did not attend or graduate college and who will be the first in their family to do so. In the Summit Rainier community, there are many students who are in that position.

Three first-generation Rainier students, all coming from different ethnic backgrounds, explained their experience and what hardships they have encountered throughout their high school career.

Dorothy Le. Gaby Garcia

Rainier senior Dorothy Le             PHOTO CREDIT: Gabryele Garcia

Le, who identifies as Vietnamese-American, said, “To me being first-generation is having all of the pressure on me to set the standards and like doing everything myself because my parents don’t really know how it works and like having my parents’ high expectations and me having to meet it.” This same pressure is shared by the other two seniors. This pressure is most likely greater now since they will be attending college next fall.

Another Rainier senior, Alekssandra Pineda Martinez, who is from Mexican descent, said there are benefits to being first-gen: “ If I can be first-generation, then my younger sibling will have somebody to go.”

Alekssandra Pineda. Gaby Garcia

Rainier senior Alekssandra Pineda Martinez PHOTO CREDIT: Gabryele Garcia

By this, Martinez explained that she wants her younger siblings to depend on her in the near future. Setting an example for younger siblings who look up to them is a common theme for older siblings.


On the other hand, since she will be the first in her family to go to college, Martinez struggles with “not having somebody to go to” for help with college applications and other college-prep work. The other seniors also mentioned struggling with not having someone to depend on or not having someone in the family to go to for guidance.

Vikita Sharda, Gaby Garcia (2)

Rainier senior Vikita Sharda PHOTO CREDIT: Gabryele Garcia

Rainier senior Vikita Sharda, who is from Indian descent, said being first-gen has affected her education: “I think it had gotten me behind because I don’t know exactly how to do everything such as college applications, so then I don’t have help at home, so then that’s why it’s affecting me.”

Le described a similar struggle, saying, “They don’t know what’s going on, so they can’t really support even if they wanted; they don’t know how to support me.”

When asked what Summit Rainier can do to help and support its first-generation students, Le said, “Don’t really know because I think I’m at a good place right now ’cause Quezada [a Rainier senior mentor] has been helping me.”

Le also mentioned, “I think Summit does a pretty good job trying to get us into but not exactly afterward.” Summit Rainier has taken steps throughout the years to help its first-gen students, such as providing mentors who are willing to do anything to help their students achieve their goals and to give them the opportunity to attend college.

However, Sharda believes there’s more that can be done: “I feel like they can inform the parents more of what they should be helping out with or host more College Nights.” This would provide a hand to parents who want to be more involved in their child’s education. If parents understand the college process, then they can empathize with their child and the amount of pressure, stress and confusion that they might be under.

Summit Shasta gets students ready for college

By Kalysta Frost

Staff Writer

Summit Shasta’s mission is to prepare students for success in college.

Senior year can be a very tough year because of college applications and the college admissions process as a whole. One way Summit Shasta helps their students get ready for college is the College Readiness Expeditions course, which is mandatory for junior students.

College Readiness teachers Keith Brown and Amber Fields discussed what the College Readiness class at Summit Shasta looks like.


College Readiness Expeditions teacher Keith Brown PHOTO CREDIT: Kalysta Frost

Mr. Brown explained, “The four projects that the students cover are number one: what students want to do with their life; number two: how colleges handle admissions; number three: financial aid; and number four: resumes and personal statements.”


College Readiness Expeditions teacher Amber Fields PHOTO CREDIT: Kalysta Frost

Ms. Fields said a bit more about what students are learning: “Right now, we’re designing a life plan in order to help students think about future goals for themselves.”

She continued, “They are also learning how to be the most competitive component and being more confident in their beliefs.”

Shasta junior Julian Caneda-Santos and senior Parmvir Siryh shared their experience taking College Readiness.


Shasta junior Julian Caneda-Santos PHOTO CREDIT: Kalysta Frost

Caneda-Santos shared, “It’s been helpful. Before this class, I didn’t know what to major in.” She added, “It’s helped me with knowing what the application will ask and knowing how to get financial aid.”


Shasta senior Parmvir Siryh PHOTO CREDIT: Kalysta Frost

Siryh shared, “Yes, I have a much stronger base of understanding college. We had our college list done by the end of last year.”

Both College Readiness teachers said that during their classes students are generally doing more work than listening to lectures.

Ms. Fields explained, “This round is more focused on work for college. For round 1, there were definitely more lectures.

Mr. Brown shared why he thought this class is mandatory for junior students: “A whole year of prep for students can make applications easier.”

The College Readiness class has a lot of pros to it, but a class can’t be perfect.

Ms. Fields shared that she met a couple of senior students last year who said that the class didn’t completely help with their college process and that they needed more help with their applications.

Ms. Fields expressed, “The class is more focused on four-year universities. Not focusing on other options. Not being able to take it a step further.”

Caneda-Santos and Siryh explained more about how the mentor system at Shasta also helps with their college process.

Caneda-Santos said that she meets and talks with her mentor about college every two weeks.

Siryh shared, “We started talking about the college process during freshman year. It really started to pick up during junior year.” Siryh continued, “I talk about college with my mentor every day.”

Anu Pattabiraman

Shasta senior mentor Anu Pattabiraman PHOTO CREDIT: Kalysta Frost

Shasta senior mentor Anu Pattabiraman explained how she helps her students get ready for college. 

Ms. Pattabiraman said that her students had a different mentor during their freshman and sophomore year, but she believes that their past mentor also talked a little bit about college with them. She stated that she talked to them more seriously about college during junior year and that she talks to her senior mentees right now about college at least once a week.

Ms. Pattabiraman shared, “Last year we started talking about what majors they’re interested in and what college they want to go to.”

Ms. Pattabiraman also gave her mentees last year deadlines to sign up for the SAT. Ms. Pattabiraman said that this year she helps them figure out where they want to apply, as well as assisting them with recommendation letters and revising and brainstorming college essays.

When asked if he thought that if he went to a different high school that he would get as much help in preparing for college, Siryh answered, “Not at all, no way. It would be really hard to understand the college process. This school gets you understanding the SAT.”

When asked if she thought that her mentees would bring with them habits of success while they’re in college, Ms. Pattabiraman said, “I think every mentee is developing habits. They will develop habits once they get there and are independent.”